The programme of this year’s Confrontations focuses on three overlapping themes: collective / romania / identity.

We invited to Lublin some of the most interesting art collectives in the world: the German collective “She She Pop” (outstanding graduates of the Giessen Institute for Applied Theatre Studies), the British-German group “Gob Squad” as well as the Antwerpbased “Berlin” collective and “Pig Iron” from Philadelphia. The latter is well known to the
Lublin audience, who have been following the development of their career for more than a decade.

All of the above-mentioned theatre companies represent the most interesting experimental and cutting-edge theatre in Europe. Their model of collective work offers a stimulating alternative for the European theatre system dominated by repertory theatres. Therefore, the presence of these artists will provide Festival participants with ample opportunities to expand on the questions posed by participating artists curators last year. What defines a theatre institution? What are the workings of the theatre production model that is dominant in Poland and internationally? What feasible alternatives are there? What are the frames of a theatre institution? Who defines them?

Another important theme of the festival is Romanian performing and visual arts. Manuel Pelmus, Dan Perjovschi, Gianina Cărbunariu, Vava Stefanescu and the Groundfloor collective are the most interesting contemporary artists associated with Romania, some of whom collaborated on the creation of the acclaimed Romanian pavilion at the last
Venice Biennale; all of them pave the way for a new, lively and fascinating trend in performing arts, which brings together theatre, dance and visual arts. The Romanian programme was created in collaboration with the Bucharestbased curator Iulia Popovici.

Last but not least, the issue of identity: social, political, cultural and sexual one. Assuming that identity is a construct, we look into the role of a cultural, social and political context in the process of creating, choosing or imposing identity. We will ask questions about the meaning of local identity in the global perspective and will attempt to tackle the negative connotations with gender caused by the bizarre ideologies forced by the Polish Catholic Church and circles that question the fundamental democratic laws.

An exhibition by an outstanding Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi will open the Festival. His drawings, so far presented among others at an individual exhibition organised by the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York, are characterised by the rare ability to provide apt and witty commentary on reality. All themes are accompanied by an extensive film programme as well as a series of Q and As, debates and panel discussions during which we will comment on the performances and plays staged at the festival and their social, political and economic contexts.

Quoting Dragan Klaić, we believe that “festivals stimulate mobility of artists, works, concepts and ideas.” We are confident that the role of a festival, including that of the “Confrontations” Festival, must not be limited to yet another showcase of plays, to yet another collection of chart-topping performances. It is a waste of space, time and money.
A festival must create culture; it may and it should stimulate the flow of ideas and experiences, discover new art forms and familiarize us with the less recognized phenomena, and create a space for real dialogue and lively discussion, especially at present, when – as observed on a daily basis – the space for public debate is being invaded, annexed and cynically tampered with.

Marta Keil, Grzegorz Reske
Festival Curators