Decision is the awakening to the eternal
A plural form of opus, Latin word for work, labor, a work.
Works, labors and métiers united – this is opera. This multilayered experience exists only thanks to the vibrant negotiation in the in-between of all its art forms. Each opera performance is made possible only as a result of the diverse expertise of its creators. The collective of Belgian artists that we gathered around La Monnaie’s season campaign reflects this wide range of métiers present in our house, the variety of talents and passions needed to create an opera. Bloedend haar, an aquarelle by Berlinde De Bruyckere, appears next to the red cord that is hand cut by the paper artist Côme Perché. Anne Demeulemeester’s designs adorn the bodies of the models choreographed by Damien Jalet. Christophe Coppens’ crying mask brings dramatic tension into the lens of Pierre Debusschere. This collective artwork evolves in the vortex of creative encounters between visual art, choreography, design, photography and fashion. All elements of this opus were created by the Belgian artists that are all internationally recognized – a concept that reflects La Monnaie’s ambition to remain a federal powerhouse and an international opera benchmark. Some of the invited artists already participated in our creations (Debusschere, Coppens, Jalet, De Bruyckere); some will reappear on our stage this season (for instance, De Bruyckere with the new Mahler Projekt). An ongoing dialogue is the basis of this col-labor-ation – a dialogue aiming at the renewal of the opera form and the development of pioneering creations, involving makers from various art disciplines. With our artistic choices we want to break the monotony of the mainstream. To create means to make decisions.
Middle English deciden, from Old French decider, from Latin dēcīdere, to cut off.
Every split that we encounter on our life path incarnates itself as a decision to be taken. What matters is not what is to be chosen from, but the personal process of choosing. It’s about how we experience making decisions. Every decision-making process brings the individuality of our existence into being and materializes our impact on our own life and the life of the others in the present moment. “Reality offers us such wealth that we must cut some of it out on the spot, simplify,” writes Henri Cartier-Bresson, the master of candid photography and initiator of the first photographers collective. “The question is, do we always cut out what we should?” To decide means to cut off choices – to cut oneself off from other courses of action, some alternatives; to dissect the decisive from the fugitive; the definite from the elusive; the crucial from the inessential. It’s scary, it’s difficult, it’s liberating. Anxiety about the consequences, a burden of the responsibility-to-come, but as well the liberating wind once a decision is taken – these are the feelings that often accompany the decision-making process. “A decision raises us with a shock from the slumber of monotony,” writes Søren Kierkegaard in Dare to Decide. Kierkegaard’s philosophical thought inspired us to this project. “A decision breaks the magic spell of custom. A decision breaks the long row of weary thoughts. A decision pronounces its blessing upon even the weakest beginning, as long as it is a real beginning. Decision is the awakening to the eternal.” We decided to use the stage of our season campaign to collectively and visually mediate on Kierkegaard’s call to action. This is labor; this is our opus.
The 2016-17 season campaign was created for La Monnaie by the collective of Belgian artists:
© Pierre Debusschere