FK Alexander's Violence is polished yet elusive (3 stars)


credit. Niall Walker

Stylistic and uneasy exploration of violence from performance artist FK Alexander

As the loud, pulsating, relentless noise of a drone reverberates, FK Alexander – clad in an almost frothy pale dress – sits at a desk and sorts through piles of flowers. Then, just at the point where the constant noise threatens to become unbearable, Alexander switches tack and – to the dreamy lilt of Skeeter Davis's 'The End of the World' – begins to behead the flowers with a startling and oddly satisfying rhythm.

Violence is a performance art piece that is composed of such contrasting moments. It seeks to explore violence, and violence is the end result: violence of action, of disparity, of overpowering noise and, equally, overpowering silence. Playing upon extremes and stereotypes, rhythm and conventions of both theatre and feminine behaviour, this is an hour of repetition, discomfort and pushing of boundaries, and Alexander inhabits the space with ease, a wealth of emotion in each flinch, tremble and backwards step.

Yet as polished as this performance may be, its object remains elusive. Violence for violence's sake makes for an impressively discomfiting experience, but its consideration of the dichotomy of violence and traditional femininity is one that doesn't always ring true.

Take Me Somewhere runs until 4 June.

Take Me Somewhere

The spirit of The Arches lives on in this festival of contemporary international performance.

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