Gertrud Kraus – “Point Of Departure”

by Lisa Jacobson, ARMA Theater.
ARMA Theatre in an Interdisciplinary Theatre Project
Inspired by Gertrud Kraus and her era, Celebrating her 100th Anniversary.

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Gertrud Kraus

ARMA Theatre is creating a new production, by the name “Point Of Departure”. The production combines different art domains and traces the work of Gertrud Kraus, who was a leading and “different” creative artist, in an era full of artistic inspiration.

Gertrud Kraus, who was born in Austria in the year 1903, is a symbol and example of an artist who combined ideology and art, determination and a strong belief in her way. She was the representative of the new Expressionist, innovative dance. Gertrud was a “total artist”, engaged in painting, sculpting and music as well. Her instructive life story reflects the true spirit of a universal artist, whose art breaks conventions and unites people. Gertrude Kraus lived and created in Austria and Germany between the years 1903-1935, the year she immigrated to Israel. In Israel she continued to create, teach and influence many artists till her death in 1977. Her artistic heritage influences artists until today.

Gertrude Kraus brought with her, to Israel, international inspiration from a volatile era, an era full of changes, between the two world wars. On the agenda were: total changes in the worldly order, crushed economy and the horrors of war. All these issues, found a diverse way of expression, in the different art streams that rose at the time and marked the way to new and innovative kinds of art.

It was the beginning of the era of Modernism, a thrilling era, with all the new art being created in a time of changes and turnabout.

Gertrude Kraus symbolizes for us, a “point of departure” from which we are drawn into a time full of social and cultural upheavals, at the beginning of the 20th Century. Today, nearly 100 years later, at the dawn of the 21st Century, when we observe social-political issues, it seems like “there is no new news under the sun…” In Israel, we live in a constant situation of “between wars”, shattered economy, unemployment, class differences and the cultural-economic gap which is growing more and more as time passes, also, we are witnesses to causeless hatred and loss of human values.

Looking at the art that has been made during the 20th Century, we can see that it has become less dogmatic and more open to changes. The Modern art became complicated due to questions that came up, like: what is art? Who can or is it at all possible to judge it or criticize it? These questions lead us to ask more questions like: Where is the art of the 21st Century going? What is the influence of the political & social processes taking place now, on the art being created? If at all…

The project (production/show/spectacle) “Point Of Departure”, strives to compose between the artistic work of Gertrude Kraus and the Modernist era with all its diverse art streams and between the present era, in which different art streams are represented, like: post-modern architecture, art of Installation and Performance art, Earth art, World music, Physical Theatre, Movement, Dance Theatre and Site Specific Theatre. We would like to create a new piece of work that will connect the different arts streams and purify them into a sum total of one creation, closing the circuit, 100 years after the beginning of Modernism.
We as creative artists, are drawn to Gertrude Kraus as an international artist, who decided to immigrate to Israel and continue her artistic creation here, although she was very successful in Europe. Moreover, the strong affinity, between the social-political-economical distresses in the time between the two world wars, to our time today (before a third world war? Or has it already begun…), is compelling and artistically inspiring. We feel a deep need to react with committed, recruited art, in order to express our hardships and thoughts, as citizens of this country and the “Global Village”, in view of the bad energy, the corruption and bloodshed that is taking over the world.

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ARMA Theatre, hosting known artists from Austria, Germany and Israel, will produce the project “Point Of Departure”, which will combine diverse art domains like theatre, dance, music, plastic-art, video-art, and special light design. The show will take place inside an Installation which combines an arena of salt on the floor. A dynamic arena that will change shape and texture during the show. Around the arena we will design an exhibition of painting, sculpture and diverse design work (by the artists of the Ein-Hod artist’s village and guest artists). Inside and outside the arena, the interdisciplinary theatrical event, will take place. While the performance is not taking place, the metamorphosed arena will continue to function as part of the whole installation (video-art, music and diverse means of display) and as an inseparable part of the exhibition around it.

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The closed arena, like the circle of time and history repeating itself; is birth and death again and again.

The show will be combined of several acts (“numbers” supposedly) who’s point of departure are taken from a sentence, movement, image, music, costume or décor, that Gertrude Kraus used in her work.
These points of departure, will lead us to new creation, which will try to embody all the art domains streams mentioned, being inspired by the Modernism and the current era, all through our artistic vision and conception. The show is a kind of theatre-circus-cabaret, utilizing different artistic languages and combining the movement, musical, plastic, visual and textual. The different
acts will be “sown together” by a grotesque-poetic figure, between a clown and bouffon, which will supposedly serve as the “Monsieur Royal”.

“A choreographer is not just a dancer. It is possible that sometimes he is not a dancer at all. Being a choreographer means, being a director, musician, poet, painter and architect all at the same time…” [Gertrud Kraus]

Below, selected images from te ARMA theater performance:

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