INK, the new and unbeatable show by the great Dimitris Papaioannou

We deeply admire Dimitris PapaioannouWe interviewed him a couple of years ago on occasion of another of his stunning performances: “Transverse Orientation”, and we were fascinated by his personality, talent and creativity.

A few months ago, at the GREC Festival Barcelona, we had the pleasure of enjoying INK, the genius’ new piece of physical and visual theatre with staging that is magnetic. But the best thing is that, before the end of the year, he will be giving new performances, both in Spain – Seville and Madrid- and in France (Lyon), Taiwan (Taipei), Belgium (Antwerp), Germany (Berlin), Portugal (Porto) and Hong Kong.

A unique opportunity to revive the show that was originally created in 2020

INK –with its fluidity, viscosity and colour- along with water, are both present throughout the whole show which involves only two artists and an octopus…One of these artists, in some of the shows is Dimitris himself, who proves once more that, at almost sixty, he is in top shape. He shares the leading role with the Greek actor Haris Fragoulis, in a cast of two performers, which always features the naked man, Šuka Horn.

“The title is for the pop. It was given to me by a friend of mine,  who thought that my show is like the extraction of a black sperm from an animal, with which you can write or paint.” D. Papaioannou

This piece was conceived in 2020, during the pandemic, and that’s why it was created in a more reduced format that is detached from that of other shows developed by the Greek artist. However, the beauty it emanates is absolutely brutal, despite using a lot less elements in the production. In fact, this alleged “simplicity” turns out to be much more complex when addressing a show that is as hypnotic and full of symbols as this is, where materiality is alive and the dance between the two bodies invades everything.

The first version of INK was commissioned and coproduced by Torinodanza Festival / Teatro Stabile di Torino – Teatro Nazionale + Fondazione I Teatri / Festival Aperto – Reggio Emilia.

Its final version and international tour are coproduced by the Biennale de la Danse of Lyon 2023, Sadler’s Wells LondonMEGARON – THE ATHENS CONCERT HALL with the support of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Elegance, minimalism and skill

Papaioannou’s universal consecration took place in 2004, when he was in charge of the opening ceremony at the Olympic Games in Athens, and he has enjoyed tremendous success ever since.

“Dimitris has created a unique and sublime scenic language, where dance and theatre coexist and bodies and the poetry of mundane life.”

As we mentioned, sobriety is a synonym of abundance in INK. And with few resources like plastic and water, a basic and ancestral element, it manages to generate an atmosphere of great beauty starring two artists from different generations. They could be father and son, maturity and innocence, order and chaos… In INK, the edges are blurred, and the show doesn’t aim to tell just one story but to invite the spectator to draw their own conclusions based on their emotions.

“I love how water sounds and, above all, that it is a manifestation of nature.” D. Papaioannou

A fascinating, dense and subliminal show

INK is linked to a previous piece, “Primal matter” (2012), which also starred a duo formed by a fully dressed mature man and a younger naked man.

Two figures that seem to attract and repel each other in equal measure, beyond their will. Two beings that are chained to the deimatic behaviour of the octopus, that uses ink to camouflage itself and escape from its enemies… Two beings whose relationship of submission drives them to a dance of union and flight, of passion and revulsion… Possibly two sides of one same coin predestined to remain together…

The stage design is made up of water and creased wet plastic curtains, where these two sculptural bodies create a unsettling and suggestive atmosphere. It makes you feel uneasy and attracted in equal measure, barely able to blink.

The show is performed without music, although on occasions some fragments of music by the contemporary composer Kornilios Selamsis can be heard, the final touch to this expressionist visual poem.

Ultimately, INK is an excellent unforgettable experience that we highly recommend.

Upcoming shows:

France (Lyon): Biennale de Lyon – Danse – Maison de la Danse /  23 – 26 September 2023
Taiwan (Taipei): ARTQUAKE in Autumn – National Performing Arts Center – National Theater & Concert Hall / 5 – 7 October 2023
Belgium (Amberes): DE SINGEL / 12 – 14 October 2023
Germany (Berlin): Haus der Berliner Festspiele / 19 – 21 October 2023
Hong Kong: NVAF – New Vision Arts Festival – Grand Theatre, HK Cultural Centre, 9 – 11 November 2023
Spain (Seville): Teatro Central / 17 + 18 November 2023
Spain (Madrid): 41º Festival de Otoño – Teatros del Canal, Sala Roja / 23 – 25 November 2023
Portugal (Porto): Teatro Municipal do Porto – Teatro Rivoli / 30 Nov – 2 December 2023

(*) Fotos: Julian Mommert.



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