Trained as a visual artist but now known for his powerfully expressive theater, Romeo Castellucci extends a tradition of performance with roots in Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty. His intent is to affect his audiences as deeply as possible, and that is a responsibility he does not take lightly. “I realize that the artist who works in fiction has an enormous power in his hands,” he says. “A power to invade, enter, and possess the body of someone else, like a demon.”
Castellucci’s works often invade us as deafening sonic booms and blinding blasts of light, and, at other times, in less assaultive ways: a mere murmur from an ailing, elderly man on an otherwise silent stage is enough to tear at our insides and evoke an endless history of human suffering.
In the video that follows, Castellucci speaks with curator Carlos Basualdo about his training, art history, performance art, the use of the image in theater, and other subjects.
The Four Seasons Restaurant, one of Castellucci’s major theater works, made its US premiere with Center support at the 2014 Fringe Festival.
Romeo Castellucci is an Italian theater director, playwright, artist, and designer. He is the founder, along with his sister Claudia Castellucci, Chiara Guidi, and Paolo Guidi, of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, an association operating at the borders of theater, performance and visual art, considered to be one of the most radical contemporary theater groups in Italy and in Europe. In 2003 he became director of the theater section of the 37th Venice Biennale, and in 2008 he was one of two associate artists at the Festival d’Avignon.
Carlos Basualdo is the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he curated the Center-funded, multidisciplinary exhibition Dancing around the Bride, and curator at MAXXI, Rome. He was the lead organizer of Bruce Nauman: Topological Gardens, which represented the US at the 2007 Venice Biennale, where it was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.