Kobalt Works

Arco Renz

Since the establishment of Kobalt Works in 2000, Arco Renz has developed a distinct artistic trajectory, creating performances as well as developing transcultural and multidisciplinary research and exchange projects.

Renz’ body of work evolves around the central concept of Abstract Dramaturgy: a radical, structural and choreographic confrontation of the individual and the body with the parameters of time and space.

Arco Renz’ productions reveal an intense physicality and explore the emotional force of abstraction. In his creations he consistently broadens the principles of Abstract Dramaturgy to light, sound and multimedia interfaces.

A central focus within Arco Renz’ specific choreographic idiom is the comparative study of traditional performing arts, in particular of Asia and Europe. His creations go beyond pure, formal dance, and display, “a graceful expressionism that can be situated somewhere between the German expressionist films of the 1920s and traditional Eastern dance and theatre forms”.  

The exploration of the individual and of her/his interrelationships with the environment are at the core of the choreographic work. Subsequent questions of individuality or freedom are addressed and contemplated through the body.

Early works between 2001 and 2006 develop a rigorous dialogue between the individual performer and precisely codified movement principles, thus exploring the expressivity of abstraction. 

This approach was coined Abstract Dramaturgy and performances like Mirth (2002), heroïne (2004) or Bullitt (2006) modulate structures of time, space and movement architecture as autonomous dramatic elements. The performers engage in a negotiation process with these surrounding and constricting structures. We experience abstract stories of conflicts, dialogues, tensions, transformations, …

In residence at STUK Art Center in Leuven, the principles of Abstract Dramaturgy developed and integrated larger ensemble works and commissions that engage diverse musical genres: Les Madrigaux (2007), P.O.P. E.R.A. (2007), MAD (2010) or 2069 (2011).

The site-specific installation-performance P.O.P. E.R.A. is an extension of his work in the field of opera that choreographs vocal vibrations. 

Recent works such as CRACK (2011) or solid.states (2012) mark a further development of Abstract Dramaturgy in the context of transcultural collaborations with partners in Southeast Asia. In 2014 and 2015, Kobalt Works|Arco Renz was engaged in collaborative performance projects of very different nature in Indonesia (KRIS IS), Vietnam (Hanoi Stardust), the Philippines (COKE) and Singapore/Thailand (ALPHA).

Arco Renz’ latest solo work, EAST (2015) transposes the ensemble processes from the work in Southeast Asia of the past five years into his own body. 

An important aspect of Arco Renz’ activities is his engagement in projects promoting the development of research and exchange between European and Asian artists. Monsoon, a series of research and performance platforms bringing together Asian and European artists, is an ongoing project with editions in Seoul (2006), Leuven (2007-2010), Brussels (2013) and Sydney (2015).

Arco Renz studied dance, theatre and literature in Berlin and Paris and was one of the first generation of graduates of Anne Teresa De Keermaekers’ P.A.R.T.S. in Brussels. 

He worked with Robert Wilson from 1997 - 2001 on numerous dance, theatre and opera productions. In the field of opera, he also worked with Luc Bondy and Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker.

Arco Renz has been a guest teacher of dance and choreography in numerous institutions around the world: Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Singapore (2000); Watermill Center, New York (1999, 2001); Bali Purnati Foundation of the Arts (2000-2003); Compania Nacional de Canto y Danca, Mozambique (2002); Hoge Instituut voor Dans Lier, Belgium (2002); Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles (2003); PARTS Summer Studios (2005); Korean National University of the Arts (2005); Danscentrum Jette, Brussels; RITS – Erasmus Hogeschool Brussels (2007); Taipei National University of the Arts (2009); ISI Surakarta, Indonesia (2011-2013); Taipei Artist Village; Indonesian Dance Festival (2012); University of Philippines, Manila (2012); PETA Theatre Manila (2012); Amrita performing Arts, Phnom Penh (2010-2013-2014-2015); ISAC - Academie Royale des Beaux Arts de Bruxelles (2013); ISI Padangpanjang (2013-2014); Vietnam National Opera Ballet (2015); Ho Chi Minh City Ballet/HBSO (2014)… a.o.