The roots of the work of art lie in the deepest zones of being-human, but on the other hand they are able, thanks to their aesthetic processing, to transcend these zones by light years. Great art is linked to the most inaccessible depths of that strange union of body and ‘soul’ that is man. These depths do not acquire form by way of a rationalising detour, or by symbolic contents. Both the recalcitrant ‘thing’, as well as the re-creating, formatting energies, ‘live’ in en emanate from the most inaccessible zones within the human being, where matter and psyche cannot be split. These processes occur long ‘before’ language, ideas, even emotions are born.

Troughout the exhitbition, at fixed times, dancers will be the intermediaries and the interpreters, and will constantly help to create a link / union (depending on the work of art, the spectator and time). This requires great sensitivity, a seismograph of the energies of the art work, of the spectator, and of their interaction. The dancer creates a transitory fleeting work of art that is linked to the moment – either as individual or through choreography. 

 Petra Sandra Vermeersch,since many years, has explored dance as a state of existence rather than as a representation, and investigated multi-layered corporeal sensibilities. What the exhibition is all about, touches the essence of her study of dance. The intermediate field of energy with its complex tentacles and structures, which are smaller or larger than man, finds a haven in the human figure. Tension and the passing from an individuality with distinct contours to an energy field in which this ego disappears or is abandoned, is a dynamism that never ceases.



In the exhibition ‘Encounters/Ontmoetingen’ choreographer and dancer Vermeersch uses dance performances to build a bridge between the art works and the spectator. Over a period of three months, performances by different dancers from the Radical HeArts Company enhance the total experience of the exhibition. The choreographic circuit that the visitors will be able to see four times a week is a work of art in the making.  

 Pé Vermeersch created a choreographic circuit for a changing cast of dancers who take on new challenges to animate the space in different ways at each performance. A choreographer and a dancer, she leaves room for inspiration and unpredictability through the power and sensibility of the dancers evolving among over a hundred art pieces from all over the world.  

The challenge of the dance is to breathe life into the exhibition through the body in motion, sometimes in a one-to-one meeting with a particular work of art, sometimes in a relationship with many pieces brought together by the curator. All in the details, the dance is trying to compose with the sensibility inherent to each work of art rather than narrating or illustrating its essence. The dancers from various origins and backgrounds (from contemporary dance to flamenco and sport) don’t share the same technique, but focus their work on imagination. Composing from the natural body, they incorporate the art works in a unique and personal manner. During the three hours of the circuit, the visitor is free to walk around and to choose the highlights of performances that catch his eye. The visitor can also experience  the process of the dancer as as sensible guide throughout the expo. 

The innovation of the exhibition ‘Encounters/Ontmoetingen’ lies in the symbiosis between the visions shared by the choreographer and by the curator Paul Vandenbroeck whose approach investigates the power of works of art beyond time and cultures. Since the creation of her solo ‘Blondes have no soul’ (2001) that toured all Europe,   is looking to develop a relationship with the visual arts by exploring dance as an abstract painting and by   questioning the conditions in which it is exposed.  

She invites the dancers of her company to express themselves in a body language nourished by inspiration, empathy, sensibility surrendering to time. The result is a dance within everyone’s reach intuitively grafted to the human body. The exhibition and the dance thus manage to transgress time, space and cultural limitations. 

“I look for the unpredictable strength of the dancers – like a storm raging over the sand on a sultry summer’s night – and I lead the dancers through images and blind work to an empathetic sensibility. This work is then transposed into a choreographic composition in space and time.“ 

To accomplish this choreographic circuit based on the dialogue and encounters, Vermeersch brings together an international cast of dancers coming from Belgium, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mexico and the United States). Most of them has been working with the choreographer for many years, but some are also new to the process. She never looks for the comfort zone and always takes on the risk of ‘the here and now’ in performance, since “beauty is in the intention rather than in perfection”.


Dance : Vermeersch / Radical HeArts, with Naoka Uemura (JA), Angela Babuin (IT), Ilya Krouglikov (CA/RU), Ana Llanes Lawson (US), Mireilla Martinez (MX), Federico Ordoñez (ES/BE), Rebecca Rosseel (BE), Hanne Schillemans (BE), Mira Walschot (BE). 

Costumes : Anita Evenepoel and Vermeersch  

Soundscape : Peter Clasen  

  • Click here to learn more about the choreographic circuit.