Primal Matter

Dimitris Papaioannou

Saturday, December 8, 2012

As Greece experiences a severe economic and social crisis, and Europe and the United States undergo detrimental shrinking of national arts funding, Dimitris Papaioannou embarks on an artistic and personal challenge: a project using the least possible means—an experiment investigating personal and national identity.

Primal Matter is an optical illusion created by two isolated bodies on stage, which are used as the starting point in this exploratory journey of balancing our physical existence (body) with our second nature (soul), at a time when the issue of paramount concern is, ultimately, what is indispensable—what constitutes the essence.

Since 1984, Dimitris Papaioannou, an avant-garde stage director, choreographer, and visual artist, has worked across the boundaries of theater, dance, and the visual arts. He drew international acclaim with his creative direction of the opening ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, where similar to this project, he dealt with the challenges of Greek national identity within the scope of a world community.

May not be suitable to all audiences because of one performer not being dressed.

LIMITED SEATING, please plan accordingly.

Ash Bulayev

Dimitris Papaioannou’s groundbreaking creative direction of the Athens 2004 opening ceremony—hailed a “triumph” by Time Magazine and The Times of London—is widely considered a high-water mark of large-scale spectacle.

Born in Athens, Greece, in 1964, Papaioannou attended the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he took the Greek performing arts scene by surprise, exploring the boundaries among theater, dance, and the visual arts, working not only as choreographer and performer, but also in the areas of costume, lighting, makeup, and set design.

A founding member of Edafos Dance Theatre (1986-2002), he conceived and choreographed its 17 productions, performing in 12. In addition, he directed a number of operas and music shows. His work Medea won “Best Choreography” at the Greek National Awards for Dance, and Human Thirst and For Ever both garnered “Production of the Year” awards. He has also directed operas and large-scale music shows. In 2005, he was awarded the Golden Cross of the Order of Honour for outstanding artistic achievement by the president of the Hellenic Republic.

His first post-Olympic work, 2, enjoyed an unprecedented run in the Greek capital, with over 100,000 tickets sold, and was released on DVD the following year. In 2009, he co-curated Heaven Live, a segment of the second Athens Biennial (with the visual artist Zafos Xagoraris). He also presented his latest work Nowhere, which ran for 79 sold-out performances.

Papaioannou spent spring 2010 as a Fulbright scholar, mentored by Laurie Anderson at The Kitchen in New York City. Upon his return to Greece, he directed K.K., a live performance of a song-cycle to Cavafy’s poetry by Lena Platonos. In 2011, he created the six-hour theatrical installation INSIDE.

Primal Matter
Studio 2
December 8, 2012, 8PM
Tresca Weinstein
Albany Times Union
December 6, 2012

EMPAC 2012-2013 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by continuous support from the Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts. Additional project support by the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the New York State Council for the Arts; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation with support from the National Endowment for the Arts; Arts Council Norway, Fond for Lyd og Bilde, and Fond for Utøvende Kunstner.

National Endowment for the Arts
NEFA - New England Foundation for the Arts
National Science Foundation
State of the Arts - NYSCA