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‘Bosch Dreams’ acrobatic performance highlights Dutch painter’s phantasmagoria

The contemporary circus show “Bosch Dreams” comes to the LG Arts Center from Friday to Sunday.

“Bosch Dreams” is a 2016 co-production by Montreal-based The 7 Fingers and Copenhagen-based Theatre Republique, led by artistic director Samuel Tetreault and French video artist Ange Potier. First initiated upon a request made by the Hieronymus Bosch 500 Foundation to mark the 500th anniversary of his death, the contemporary circus production sheds new light on the works of the 15th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch.

LG Arts Center is to hold “Bosch Dreams” performances from Friday through Sunday, Seoul (LG Arts Center)
LG Arts Center is to hold “Bosch Dreams” performances from Friday through Sunday, Seoul (LG Arts Center)

“Bosch Dreams” crosses the boundaries between the past and present, as well as the dream world and reality. The show uses the 3-D canvas of video projections by video artist Potier to render the Dutch painter’s works, allowing surreal imageries to come alive before the eyes of the audience.

Bosch’s otherworldly, grotesque and surreal expressions of heaven, Earth and hell are used as the backdrop for an interpretive acrobatic performance of his works by The 7 Fingers.

The performance starts off with a scene tracing back to 1516, when Bosch is nearing his death. On his death bed, Bosch falls asleep after many sleepless hours. Soon the stage is transformed into a room 500 years later, where a professor -- who has devoted his life to study Bosch -- gives his lecture on the painter. Shortly after, Bosch’s painting on the backdrop become animated with florid acrobatics. 

A still from “Bosch Dreams” /LG Arts Center
A still from “Bosch Dreams” /LG Arts Center

From then on, the audience is invited to walk through the artistic world of Bosch. The performance aims to provide an opportunity for the audience to gain an insight into the not so widely known Dutch painter, the artistic director said.

The Dutch painter’s works included as part of the plot are “Seven Deadly Sins,” “The Extraction of the Stone of Madness,” “Ascent of the Blessed,” “The Haywain.”

Among them, one of Bosch’s most famous paintings “The Garden of Earthly Delights” -- a Triptych painting depicting heaven and hell -- functions to provide the thematic tie to the production, Tetreault explained in a statement.

While exploring the 15th century artist who flourished between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, “Bosch Dreams” also looks into the modern artists inspired by him -- not only surrealist Salvador Dali but also Jim Morrison of The Doors. One of the noteworthy scenes of the performance is where a character presumed to be Dali walks into the animation, travels through the garden of delights, finds a female character who came out of a flower and soon starts to draw her, resulting in a unique hand balancing performance.

“Bosch Dreams” will be performed in English with Korean subtitles.

By Shim Woo-hyun (

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