concept&direction BERLIN [Bart Baele & Yves Degryse]
with Geert Jan Jansen
assistant Geert Jan Luk Sponselee
video BERLIN, Geert De Vleesschauwer, Jessica Ridderhof & Dirk Bosmans
video editing BERLIN, Geert De Vleesschauwer & Fien Leysen
set design Manu Siebens, Ina Peeters & BERLIN
musical composition & mixing Peter Van Laerhoven
live mixing Arnold Bastiaanse or Hans De Prins
light design Barbara De Wit
piano Govaart Haché
cello Katelijn Van Kerckhoven
sound recording Bas De Caluwé & Maarten Moesen
technical coordination Manu Siebens & Geert De Vleesschauwer
technical assistance Rex Tee
production managment Celeste Driesen & Jessica Ridderhof
administration Jane Seynaeve
distribution Eveline Martens
communication Sam Loncke
coproduction Brighton Festival (UK), le CENTQUATRE (Paris, FR), C-TAKT (Limburg, BE), deSingel (Antwerp, BE), Theaterfestival Boulevard (Den Bosch, NL), Het Zuidelijk Toneel (Tilburg, NL), PACT Zollverein (Essen, DE)
with the support of the Flemish Government, Tax Shelter of the Belgian federal government, Podiumfonds
thanks to Saskia Verreycken, Diana Boro, Geert Jan Jansen for his help in the preparation and the realization of the performance
lenght 1 hour and 20 minutes
in Flemish with English and Italian subtitles
On May 6 1994 the gendarmes break into Geert Jan Jansen’s French country estate, where they find more than 1600 works by the likes of Picasso, Dali, Appel, Matisse and Hockney. Striking detail: most of them have actually been painted by the Dutchman. For more than twenty years, Geert has managed to fool the art world, so convincingly so that Picasso and Appel themselves
unwittingly provided certificates of authenticity for his creations.
To this day, museums worldwide have been exhibiting four works by Geert Jan which nobody would single out as forgeries. A spelling mistake eventually lays bare Geert Jan’s illicit activity, and a German superintendent catches him. He becomes an overnight sensation and one of the most famous art world swindlers.
After BERLIN’s Perhaps All The Dragons (in which Geert Jan makes his first appearance as one of the thirty story tellers) True Copy puts him centre stage. Over the years, and in the shadow of the masters, he has been perfecting his skill. Geert Jan’s work and life is a constant balancing act on the tightrope between fiction and reality, in the permanent hope of not tumbling down. He is a perfect protagonist, whose story far exceeds the realm of the personal.
In this new component of the Horror Vacui series, BERLIN puts Geert Jan himself on stage. The internal cogwheels that keep this complex man ticking act as a manual for laying bare – amongst other things – the hypocrisy inside the art world. What does truthfulness really mean? And isn’t it much more refreshing to go along with a brilliantly packaged lie?
In this new production, BERLIN use their idiosyncratic style to merge two different worlds and realities on stage. Together with the protagonist, they put the finger on a festering open sore in the art world. By the same token they also tell the universal story of one man who tries to hold his own inside a web of lies – or variations on the truth.
The starting point of each performance of BERLIN is located in a city or a region somewhere on the planet. Characteristic is its documentary and interdisciplinary work methods. Focusing on a specific research question, it engages different media depending on the content of the project. Their unique approach is acknowledged by the Flemish Government which in 2015 awards BERLIN
with the Culture Prize for the Performing Arts.
Bart Baele and Yves Degryse set up BERLIN in 2003, together with Caroline Rochlitz. They start a series called Holocene [the geological era] with the performance Jerusalem, followed by Iqaluit, Bonanza, Moscow and Zvizdal. A few years later BERLIN kicks off a new cycle: Horror Vacui [the fear of emptiness], of which Tagfish, Land’s End, Perhaps All The Dragons and Remember The Dragons are the first four episodes. BERLIN is currently working on a new instalment in the Horror Vacui series, True Copy, in which they plunge deep in the life of master forger Geert Jan Jansen.