Throughout OPEN, Michael Popper will be performing his work 'Man Braking'. Michael is a director, choreographer, singer, actor and dancer who collaborates extensively with composers, directors, film-makers and writers and has worked with prestigious and international companies such as Classical Opera Company, National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Modern Dance Theatre Istanbul, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées to name a few. We asked Michael what dives his passion for art, what inspires him and what he will be working on after OPEN..
When did you know that art is what you wanted to do?
I have a great deal to say, and have been silenced far too often; what more provocation could an artist want? It seems to me that art - and here I mean art that is at once rigorously conceived, playfully bizarre, urgent, and inexplicable - is terribly dangerous, or, at least, should be so in the right hands. I think I recognized at a very young age that well-timed and well-tempered art has the potential offer comment and commentary on the human condition; to challenge preconceptions and pretentiousness; and, of course, to nourish those in need of more than a prescribed experience. I recognized that I found this potential irresistible.
How did you get where you are now in your career?
After several successful but uncomfortable decades working in the performing arts, I have returned decisively to what was my first passion, and the field which I thought I had chosen in my early childhood: visual art.
What do you make and what are the ideas behind what you make?
I'm currently working in two quite separate ways: on the one hand, I am creating durational installation works, and on the other, 2D works which combine imagery and my original text (or whose images refer to this text). The installation pieces are subtle, vulnerable things which aim to draw attention to the quiet potency of our smallest moments. The 2D works aim to reveal both the narrative energy of their texts, and, in their charcoal and pencil strokes and smudges, the energy of their execution. Common to my works in both media is a desire to reveal a kind of collateral human experience: a sense of half-remembered certainties; of things which might appear most clearly just as we turn our backs on them.
What inspires you?
Humanity, and the lack of it.
What are you working on now? Where will we see you next?
I'm developing more works in my "Cultural Remnants" installation series. "Man Braking" is the second in the series, and I imagine at least three more. I'm also developing my "Siege" project, which is either a hybrid stage-play/graphic novel of some kind, or a rudimentary animated film, or both. I'm hoping to take some of the "Cultural Remnants" works to the north later in the year. The "Siege" project needs someone brave, enlightened, and, indeed, wealthy enough behind it. Any offers...?
MAN BRAKING can be seen at OPEN until 8 March 2018. Please see here for performance times.