Departures and Arrivals



A hand\'s turn - the head turns.
Rita Natálio

Lenio Kakleo is a Greek choreographer born in Athens in 1985. She graduated from the State School of Contemporary Dance in Athens (SSCD), the CNDC in Angers (FAC) and completed the program SPEAP, a master on experimentation in arts and politics directed by Bruno Latour at Sciences Po, Paris. As a performer, she collaborated with Alexandra Bachzetsis, Boris Charmatz, Gerard & Kelly, Claudia Triozzi, François Chaignaud & Cecilia Bengolea, Emmanuelle Huynh, Moser & Schwinger, Fanny de Chaillé, Laure Bonicel and Hela Fattoumi & Eric Lamoureux. Since 2009, she develops her own choreographic projects like Matter of Act (2009), Fluctuat nec Mergitur (2010), Arranged by Date (2012), Deux • L (2013) in collaboration with Lucinda Childs, Margin Release f/f (2015) and Arranged by Date, A Guided Tour (2016). Her work has been presented in institutions and festivals such as the Centre Pompidou, ImpulsTanz, Athens & Epidaurus Festival, Documenta 14 Public Programs, Quartz-Scène National de Brest, Latitudes Contemporaines and La Ménagerie de Verre.

This year, with the support of the Athens Festival, she has created a delicate work - A hand’s turn - conceived as a performance for one or two spectators at a time. In this work, Kaklea investigates the distinctions between “left” and “right” and the functional and symbolic implications of such distinctions in a number of areas, ranging from the field of politics to the human body. After visiting the Athens Festival during our last DNA’s meeting I had a chance to see the work. Here’s my testimony of “A hand’s turn”:


A hand's turn - the head turns


In a bare room, well lit by sunlight, Kaklea lies on a bed with a penetrating tone. As we both enter, “we” meaning the two viewers assigned to the performance - we are asked about scenes of classical films like "Taxi Driver". In the questions, some common elements become evident: the strategic role of the mirror in each scene and the idea of having it as a proof or extension of identity. After this small game, another kind of game takes place, as Kaklea sits in front of us, with two piles of paper sheets. She slides the sheets of paper with her hands with a specific pace: left right, left right, right right left, both at the same time, and then left right left right,... As a tautological choreography, the text in the sheets of paper alerts us to “left” and “right” cultural configurations, ie. who and where one kisses the left cheek first, the use of the left side to represent the past to the use of the right side to represent the future, or the split face of Janus.

Through this piece, the importance of the mirror is revealed in three ways: 1) the inversion of the image, there is, the way in which an inverted portrait of the self is returned by a mirror; 2) the inversion between left and right in the reflected image; 3) the possibility to see text as a division between things and images (reflexes). As in ancient times, where the mirror was seen as a "dumb devil”, figuring as a perverse proto-machine of all machines (theater included), we are confronted in “A hand’s turn” with a “mise-en-abîme” of reflections, a paradoxical relationship between left and right in terms of spacial dimensions, body anatomy, and temporal dimensions (past and future).

This event will only be concluded by a final moment, where the artist moves her back to us, while we have limited access to her face, in the case, to the reflection of her eyes in a rear view mirror. It is as if Janus had merged his two heads and watched us, while each eye - the left and right - became more easily separated and binocular vision was kindly questioned by this choreographic essay. 


Rita Natálio