Squares do not (normally) appear in nature confronts the audience with an aural and visual space: 13 experiments of sound and vision without the use of performers. The work’s basis is the awareness of colours via certain protagonists: light, mist, glass, font and image. This is akin to how apparently abstract themes are the actors of Josef Albers’s research of reality.

In the Oxford English Dictionary, abstract has nine definitions, of which the most applicable is 4.a.: “Withdrawn or separated from matter, from material embodiment […]. Opposite to concrete.” From the Latin, abstractus means ‘drawn away’. In visual arts, the sense of abstract painting is a composition with a certain or total degree of independence from the real world. This action of drawing away is the key aspect of this work, This action is further underscored when taken together with the questioning of how theatre redefines itself by apparently drawing away an action. What is left?

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The piece builds on how Albers himself drew away when he left the Bauhaus for America. He was not only traveling across the Atlantic to a new life in the US, but also to a deeper kind of observation--one that brought him to the essence of how the world and objects are built and thus perceived. Observation is connected to the physical action of seeing. Albers’s words and criteria, as much as his materials--his palette and his objects--visually connect the audience to a renewed kind of narration. A slowed down narration, which brings the audience to terms with unfamiliar references and his/her own predisposition to open eyes. An attitude that Albers has already envisaged with his work.

As the title suggests, this work also regards nature and what normally doesn’t appear in it. In particular, the performance dramatizes abstract effects by staging natural phenomena such as rainbows and the northern lights. This specific choice deconstructs the misleading convention that abstract art is too impersonal or cold. No wonder that Elaine de Kooning noted “however impersonal his paintings might at first appear, not one of them could have been painted by any one but Josef Albers himself”. Experience, as Albers conceived it in his teaching, from the years of Bauhaus to Black Mountain College and Yale, is now on stage. Squares do not (normally) appear in nature is a line by Albers himself, and the project is first of all an invitation to hear, see and spend time.

Josef Albers

Born March 19, 1888 in Bottrop, Germany, he enrolled at the Weimar Bauhaus in 1920 and in 1923 was appointed instructor of the Preliminary Course. In 1933, he emigrated to the US with his wife, Anni Albers, where he created the art department at Black Mountain College in North Carolina. In 1950, he began his series of paintings Homage to the Square and in the same year he accepted the position of Dean of the Department of Design at Yale University. In 1963, Yale University Press published Interaction of Color, demonstrating the principles of Albers' exploration of the mutability and relativity of color inspired by his famous teachings. In 1971, Josef Albers is the first living artist to be exhibited with a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.



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by OHT | Office for a Human Theatre 

> supported by The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation (USA)
> idea and directing Filippo Andreatta
> scientific research Chiara Spangaro
> mechanics and wonder Paola Villani
> set-design Filippo Andreatta and Paola Villani
> sound Roberto Rettura
> technician Giovanni Marocco / Massimiliano Rassu
> song “ala” by Matteo Nasini
> production OHT, Provincia Autonoma di Trento
> in collaboration with Regione Trentino Alto-Adige, MART museum of modern and contemporary arts, Comunità di Valle della Vallagarina, PuntoLuce sas
> residency Centrale Fies, Albers Foundation
> thanks to Barbara Boninsegna, Annalisa Casagranda, Brenda Danilowitz, Fritz Horstman, Alessandra Klimciuk, Nick Murphy, Giacomo Raffaelli, Jeannette Redensek, Nicholas Fox Weber

production history

08.IX.2017 Bolzano, TransArt Festival
from 04 to 07.V.2017 Firenze, Fabbrica Europa Festival
20-21.IX.2016 Terni, Terni Festival
13-14-16.IX.2016 Roma, Short Theatre Festival

from 12 to 15.XI e dal 18 al 22.XI.2015 Milano, CRT Teatro dell’Arte Triennale
30.VII.2015 Dro, Drodesera Festival - Centrale Fies
20.VI.2015 > Praga (CZ), Prague Quadrennial - Conferenza
Rovereto, MART museumof modern and contemporary art

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