Playing the city | portfolio | Liesje van den Berk

Ik geef je een lijn, Performance, duration 30 minuten, Buitenkunst Randmeer,2017, photo by Keke Keukelaar
I give you a line
Interactive participatory performance, duration: 30 minutes
concept: Liesje van den Berk
Live video by: Liesje van den Berk
video by: Nicole van den Kroonenburg
Buitenkunst Randmeer, drawing workshop 2017
photo by: Keke Keukelaar

15 participants with 15 graphite pencils sit at a long wooden table, ± 1,5 x 10 meter, covered with white paper. A camera records their actions and projects this live on a screen behind them.

In the performance I invited 15 participants to connect and draw a single straight line without using any words. The line is on going. The pencil passed from hand to hand without being lifted off the line. The interrelationship between the lines, the hands and interactions of the participants was broadcast live behind the performers. This created a simultaneous reflexive situation, a mirrored image between real time interaction and its representation.
The sound of the pencil increased, the movement slowly accelerated, lines multiplied and gain weighted leaving a trace. The line continued until all the pencils were dropped and it was silent again.

performers: participants of Grafietpotlood (Caja Schuurman, Marcel Richters, Hugo Diddens, Annika Folkerts, Jacqueline Hornbach, Geri Boer, Martha Asman, Manje Dijkman, Ria van Pelt, Irene van Hoogdalem, Irene Ypman, Greetje Cuiper, Peter van de Geer, Marjolein Rijnders, Annet Goltstein)


Tone down the edge of an itchy stone
Performance, duration: 3 hours
Gravel ground and stones from the buffer zone between Greek and Turkish Cyprus in Kaimakli (an urban area of Nicosia), sandpaper and flowers of the Bougainvillea
Loukia & Michael Zampelas Art Museum in Nicosia (CY), 2017
Photo by Polymnia Tsinti

During my performance-based research on the buffer zone between Greek and Turkish Cyprus, I collected empirical data especially through my sense of touch. I used my body and material to transcend the intimate discomfort of the historically divided area of conflict to create dialogues. The actions resonate the tactility, segregation and emotional space around the buffer zone of Kaimakli.

I sensed the stones itching under my feet and the wind that blew in all directions without any borders turning everything around. For the performance presentation I placed the gravel ground and stones in a circle inside the museum and used them as marking objects. Around the circle I laid white light flowers (Bougainvillea) from the garden and a line of sandpaper.

When the audience entered the museum I stood in the middle of the room on the stones and the audiences walked around me. I laid the line of sandpaper in front of the feet of the audience and started drawing and sanding with a stone in a strait line, to soften the edges. A spectator joined at the other end of the sandpaper and we created together an on-going movement to shape a line. The repetitive rhythm of a scratching stone echoed in the museum, a dialogue without words.

The stones were filed to dust but also became refined gems. The sanding created both friction and soft warmth; this energy was shared with the audience by holding it together in each other’s hands. After the stone was smoothed I placed it back in the circle under my feet. I repeated this action with another stone. Traces of dust lines were spread on the floor as a memory of the conflict, dialogue and the demarcation.

In between I picked up a flower and looked at how it moved by itself in the space. For a moment the dead flower was alive, a presence in the space. The flower blew away like the wind changing the borderline, a view from another side.


Sensory drawalks
Pencil drawing on paper each 21x 14,8 cm, 2017

A selection of the drawings I made during my Urban Collage workshop residency in the buffer zone between Greek and Turkish Cyprus in Kaimakli (an urban area of Nicosia (CY)). In my project Drawalks I drew my environment while walking along the neighbourhood at the same time capturing the constant abstract change in my environment. In this drawings I focused on the senses smell and touch.


Sunburned Performance, duration 150 minutes, PAS#20 by PAS - Performance Art Studies, Grimmuseum / Berlin, 2011 photo by Matthias Pick and Monika Sobczak
Sunburned
Performance, duration 150 minutes, PAS#20 by PAS – Performance Art Studies, Grimmuseum / Berlin, 2011
photo by Matthias Pick and Monika Sobczak

Description of action: When the audience enters, I stand already in the room, with each foot on one brick. In front of the bricks lays a big bleu balloon. I step behind the bricks and take them in my hands. I start to grind the bricks over my body, from my feet to my head and back. The dust sparkles around me and falls on my skin. I place the bricks back on their place and stand on them until my breath is calm again. I take the balloon and begin to inflate it. When the balloon is bigger than my face, I free the air out of the balloon and blow the dust off my face. I put the balloon down before the bricks and watch the balloon getting quite empty. Then I look in to the room and wait some moments and start all over again.

In this performance I search for a way to be “in between”, to be in balance between private and public. How can I be present and in my own world? This struggle is visible in the movements (mechanical and meditative), sound (breathing and scrubbing), light, space and materials (like the balloon that shows the air I breathe, but also hides my face) I use. The actions show my power but the material my vulnerability. Everything has two sides, like the dust covers my skin, erase me from the space, but also makes my contour more visible. Even when I left the room my private world is still claimed.


Daily traces
Drawingproject of artist collective Daily traces (Cathelijn van Goor, Emmy Bergsma, Marleen Kappe, Mirna Limon, Liesje van den Berk and guest artists)
Duration: 1 month every day 8 hours, Amstelpassage, Amsterdam Centraal Station, 2018
photo by Josine Timmer

By working daily in the Amstelpassage of the Amsterdam Central station in a open studio, the artists give the audience an insight into their own, individual drawing process and the audience sees the drawings arise. The drawings are shown on a timeline that functions as a visual diary of the month January. Daily traces create space for creativity and contemplation in an area of consumption and precipitance and reflect on the role of drawing in our society.


Throw a Line
Duo performance with sabine oosterlynck and Liesje van den Berk, Duration: 2 x 15 minutes, graphite pencil and labels in the room of Props, ±4 m x 6 m
Video excerpt: 54 seconds
Props Ghent (BE), 2017
Photo by Nicole Halsberghe

Throw a Line is a performance collaboration about space, movements, sounds and lines. The drawing graphite lines of Liesje van den Berk and tagging blank labels of sabine oosterlynck create horizontal and vertical graphic architectural structures with rhythmic elements in the space. Through movements and remains they build up an installation. These traces make the invisible visible, a connection between the performers, space and audiences. Lines become labels; labels become lines, a score of lifelines between structure and chaos, silence and sounds. Moments of revelations, copying gestures and visual poetry.


Sounds of Amstelpark
Installation of 30 drawings of graphite on paper, each 29,7 x 21 cm, wire, magnets and found wood
Het Glazen Huis Amstelpark, zone2source, 2017

During my working period in Amstelpark I captured the sounds and noise of six spots in the Amstelpark in drawing. Every drawing is 2 minutes.


Exhibition in Zone2Source, het Glazen Huis, Amstelpark, Amsterdam, 2017, photo by Harold van de Kamp
Performance echo I
graphite and oil pastel on paper, 320 x 150, exhibition in Zone2Source, het Glazen Huis, Amstelpark, Amsterdam, 2017
photo by Harold van de Kamp

Result of a rehearsal of the performance Zeelicht. Drawing originated from a number of various physical drawing movements and by drawing in a certain rhythm in a time frame of 1 hour.


Zeelicht
Drawing performance, duration: 23 minutes, pencil on paper on a freestanding wall 500 x 300 x 250 cm (length x width x height)
Video excerpt: 2:19 min,
Waterfoyer, Festival 2 Turven Hoog, KAF Almere, 2016
Concept and visual artist: Liesje van den Berk
Cornet, voice, composition: Felicity Provan
Light design: Ellen Knops
Camera by: Leo van Emden
Coaching: Ingrid Wolff en Anne-beth Schuurmans
Coproduction: 2 Turven Hoog
With financial support: Performing Arts Fund NL, Holland Reklame en Standbouw bv

Through live interaction between drawing, sound and light I drew a monumental ‘Sea’ drawing, a physical and sensory experience of drawing and encounters. I invited a musician Felicity Provan (cornet and voice) and a light designer Ellen Knops to give their vision of a water landscape in sounds and light. Felicity (trained as a jazz and classical musician) has a rich vocabulary of sounds, rhythms and melodies. Through improvisation, she let us hear both weather and the wind as melodic jazz. Ellen sees light as an autonomous part of a performance, a movement and not a static element. Sound, music and light generate physical and emotional reactions in the drawing and the reception of the audience. The result is a representation of the sea, the water, with different perceptions of space and time.


Drawing your attention
Drawing performance, pencil drawing on mylar on a glass wall, ±1200 cm x 225 cm, Duration: three days, one hour per day
Video excerpt: 1:36 min
SEAPA BU World Symposium, Bangkok (TH) (South East Asia Global Encountering in Performing Art Symposium, Bangkok University), 2013
Concept and visual artist: Liesje van den Berk
Guitar and sound: Jeen Rabs

During three days, one hour per day at SEAPA BU World Symposium I drew the outlines of the shadows of the public on mylar (semi-transparent plastic) on a glass wall of the university building. By drawing on mylar, lines and shadows were visible both inside and outside. It connects the performers and the audience to the surrounding space, people, and passing time. During this performance Jeen Rabs (Guitarist) created rhythms and soundscapes with his guitar, which influenced the movement of the audience and the drawing.
The result of the performance presents a memory of the act. A dialogue between gestures and lines. Lines of bodies and encounters that are crossed over and over again.


At Cill Rialaig Project(IR) I recorded the light on the water with my video camera, increasing the contrast of the camera to concentrate on the light and dark. I made four drawings of this video in a time sequence of one minute. 5 February 2015 at 13.06.30, 13.07.30, 13.08.30 and 13.09.30. The change of light transforms the perception of time and space.


Our breath
interactive installation with gold leaf, metal and plastic, 24x42x180cm, 2013

In this installation the audience is seduced to breathe together and to let the gold leaf dance. Something valuable like a gold leaf shows something invisible but even more valuable: our breath.


Pneuma
Performance during Performance festival with traces Pictura, Dordrecht, Duration: 20 minutes, Video excerpt: 0:54 min, 2015
Photo by:Jules van Iperen, Camera by: Lars Reen

Our air in motion.
Breathe in and breathe out, respire and exhale, grasp and release. Breath is transitory and elementary, the flow of life. It attracts and pushes things away.
I enter the room with an old suitcase. In this suitcase is a small package. Carefully I unpack this package and reveal the gold leaves. I take a knife and lift a gold leaf with the knife. I try not to crinkle the leaf or let it touch the ground. I breathe the gold leaf to the audience through the room. We breathe together and let the gold leaf dance. At the end of the performance I leave the room with the shared air and the audience leaves with a small piece of the gold leaf.
Pneuma is about sharing our air and being present in the space and moment with each other. This is visualized by a gold leaf, a symbol for the (old) economic system. Through interaction with the audience the gold leaf creates new sense. A gold leaf descends on the foot of a spectator creating a relationship between the spectator, his feet, the performer and the gold leaf. The gold leaf magnified the intimate contact between people.