Pre-interview: Pierre-Étienne Morelle & Hester Oerlemans

Pierre-Etienne Morelle and Hester Oerlemans - Ozean
Text and pictures by Lisa Kosak

Due to fundamentally different ideas about engagement in contemporary art, Hester Oerlemans decided that it was time to move on with OZEAN and host the last performance in that space.

Back in 2010, Hester Oerlemans created her project space by closing the front of an open garage with a wooden wall. After four years and more than 50 exhibitions and performances, OZEAN will offer us a grand finale with Pierre-Etienne Morelle's evocativelly named performance  : ABRISS (demolition), before looking towards new horizons. We had the chance to meet Pierre-Etienne Morelle and Hester Oerlemans for a joint interview.

Are there certain goals that you set for yourself, or your audience, in regards to the conception of this perfomance?

P.-E.M.: Of course, the idea is to answer to Hester, who asked me to find a system to dismantle OZEAN. I would like the audience to take part in this action, but let's see. I'm still working on it.

Do you have some form of good luck ritual that you might perform before one of your performances?

No, I usually walk in on the spot, with raw, poor material. The only thing I'm bringing is the rubber stripes, and of course, I never know how it will turn out.

Do you have a backup plan in case things don't work out as expected ?

I think it's also part of the game. For example my last performance was not working at first, so I did it again. It still didn't go as planned, but somehow it did. It just had an unexpected end.

Tell me about the performance Abriss you'll have on Sunday.

We don't want to reveal too much. All I can say is that there will be five different units, with five different movements.

How did you two meet ?

H.O.: I started OZEAN four years ago, and I invited Pierre to hold a performance during the first year. Since then I have seen a lot of his performances. For OZEAN's last show, I really wanted to have something spectacular, and I directly thought about Pierre. I like the way he makes a performance, he gives it a lot of preparation and thinks about every detail. It was difficult though because when I called him, I already had an idea in mind. I explained him what I wanted, and luckily, our different ideas came together and we could work something out. Then I also thought that it would be nice to have a performance that would sum up the four years of OZEAN's existence, and I think that Pierre's work succeeds in doing so in a very short time. In a way, he is looping the loop.

Do you already have an idea about what will come after OZEAN ?

Yes, I'm looking for another place. It's a pity, but it's not possible for me to go on with this space anymore. I will try to stay in Kreuzberg, and I would like to find a similar space. I liked the fact that here, artists had to deal with the constraints. In the beginning, they had problems with the gate. After working on a project for a few days, they were telling me that their work would look better without it. Now, people come to me and already have a project in mind with the gate closed.

I would like to find a new space where artists also have the challenge to work with the space, as with OZEAN.
After the performance on Sunday, you will see how the space looked like before. In a way, it is nice to dismantle it, and to be part of it at the same time.

The performance Abriss will take place on November 30 at 15.00h at OZEAN.

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