’Paso Doble,’ live sculptures in clay

«Paso Doble» is neither a spectacle nor an actual performance. Besides, the artists behind the project, namely Josef Nadj and Miquel Barcelo, consider any kind of categorization stifling. Critics often refer to Barcelo as a modern-day Renaissance Man. Following in the footsteps of artists such as Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, the Spanish artist thrives in exploring, discovering and combining a series of techniques and materials until he reaches the desired result. Born in the Vojvodina region of Serbia, Nadj was heavily inspired by his parents’ Hungarian heritage and his own Yugoslav roots. A true Eastern European mixture, Nadj operates in a dark, Kafkaesque universe, always opening up to the forward-looking Western world. Having lived in France since 1980, Nadj is constantly moving beyond the boundaries of theater, mime, dance, music, literature and the visual arts. To marking the opening of the Athens Festival, Barcelo and Nadj joined forces and imaginations amid 10 tons of liquid clay, last night. The stage at the D Area of the festival’s Pireos 260 venue resembles a bare canvas – both the wall and the floor are covered in clay. Clad in black suits, the two men burst into the space and promptly begin digging and carving in a masterly fashion. Gradually, the rough space turns into a work-in-progress, a living sculpture. The artists subsequently disappear, only to reappear molding clay masks of animal heads, where each man’s body becomes a means of expression and the other’s canvas. Ultimately, the two men become living statues, integral pieces of a work of art that is as ephemeral as the performance’s duration. «Paso Doble» is a co-production by the Avignon Festival and the National Choreography Center in Orleans, France. The sound design is by Alain Mahe, lighting by Remi Nicolas, costumes by Fabienne Varoutsikos and ceramic constructions by Jean-Noel Peignon. For tickets, contact the Hellenic Festival box office (39 Panepistimiou, tel 210.327.0000). Performances take place at 260 Pireos, Tavros, tonight and tomorrow.