Kris Verdonck (born 1974) studied visual arts, architecture and theatre and this training is evident in his work. His creations are positioned in the transit zone between visual arts and theatre, between installation and performance, between dance and architecture. As a theatre maker and visual artist, he can look back over a wide variety of projects.
He directed theatre productions and produced various installations, a.o. 5 (2003), Catching Whales Is Easy (2004), II (2005). The first STILLS, consisting of gigantic projections, were commissioned by La Notte Bianca in Rome. In 2007 he created the theatrical installation I/II/III/IIII, while in 2008 END premièred at the Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels.
Verdonck often presents combinations of different installations/performances as VARIATIONS. VARIATION IV was shown during the Festival d’Avignon in 2008. In 2010 Kris Verdonck finished the ‘circuit performance’ ACTOR #1 which shows three variations on the theme from chaos to order. K, a Society, a circuit of installations inspired by the work of Franz Kafka premièred at Theater der Welt 2010 in Germany. In 2011 Verdonck presented two research projects: TALK sets out to explore language, while EXIT, created with Alix Eynaudi, aims to tackle theatre as a medium. In the same year, his first solo exhibition was held at House for contemporary art Z33 together with a new work: EXOTE. In 2012 Verdonck created M, a Reflection: a theatre production with texts by Heiner Müller with actor Johan Leysen and his digital double on stage. H, an Incident, a musical theatre performance for big stage, based on the life and work of Daniil Harms, premièred in 2013 during the Kunstenfestivaldesarts.
UNTITLED (2014), a solo creation for the Spanish dancer and performer Marc Iglesias, explores the phenomenon of the liberated figure, the performer who is thrown into theatre in a limited way as if by a mechanical construction. ISOS (2015), a 3D video-installation based on the world and characters from the apocalyptic science-fiction novels of J.G. Ballard, was presented at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2016. IN VOID (2016), an installation circuit about human absence, premiered in the Kaaistudio’s. A symposium on the artistic practice of Kris Verdonck was organised in the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (City University of New York). In BOSCH BEACH (2016), an opera directed by Verdonck based on a libretto written by Dimitri Verhulst and composed by Vasco Mendonça, the false paradise of the resorts and the Bosch-like hell on earth merge seamlessly together. Kris Verdonck is artiste associé at the University Paris-Sorbonne.
In 2017, ten years after its premiere, ICK Amsterdam recreated and toured I/II/III/IIII. In September 2017, A Two Dogs Company / Kris Verdonck and Het Zuidelijk Toneel presented Conversations (at the end of the world) with actors Johan Leysen, Jan Steen, Jeroen Van der Ven, José Kuijpers and pianist Marino Formenti on stage. In April 2019, the new installation DETAIL was presented at BOZAR. At the 2019 KunstenfestivaldesArts, the performanceSOMETHING (out of nothing) will go in avant-premiere. In this choreographic work, four dancers share the stage with noise cello player Leila Bordreuil a voice over and several large inflatable sculptures. SOMETHING (out of nothing) is a work that brings museal and theatrical presentations together in a reflection on the fragility of human absence and presence. Therefore, parallel to the stage work, the installation circuit BOGUS I-III will be presented at KANAL - Centre Pompidou.
In 2020 Verdonck collaborates again with Johan Leysen in a second co-production with Het Zuidelijk Toneel: ACT. ACT focusses on the work of Samuel Beckett and continues Verdonck’s interest in a state of being between object and subject and between absence and presence.