Puppets & Design Festival Ljubljana 2022


The new edition (2021-2022) of Puppets & Design Festival in Ljubljana is hosted in the ambit of LUTKE International Festival from 23th to 27th september 2023. Here below the presentation by Ajda Rooss, the artistic director.


Wind of Change

The LUTKE Festival has enjoyed a decade-long reputation as one of the most important puppetry events in Europe, biennially bringing the world’s latest puppetry productions
to Ljubljana. The selection of the 16th edition is poised at the intersection of intermediality and contemporary visual art, inspiring forms of visual, material, object, and shadow theatre.

This year’s LUTKE shows the strong symbiosis of contemporary puppetry with abstract experiments within fine arts (painting, sculpture, photography, figurative art, etc.), which, through a freshly established alliance with the digital, is also creating new performative dimensions. Visual artists have always been an important building block of puppetry (Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Paul Klee, Joan Miró, etc.).

A child’s drawing begins with a line. Similarly, children become visual designers in the French show In Mixed Lines. The delicate illustrations of renowned French illustrator Catherine Pineur come to life as shadows in Sonia and Alfredo. In Playing Tones, the youngest audience members discover the flexibility of a kneadable material and jointly create a tactile experience. Sand pit is also an innovative theatrical playground where sand traces the origins of human civilisation. In synergy with science, The Big Bang questions not only how life came to be, but also how it will end. The metaphor of our times, where
the manipulative mind and the dominance of power corrode our deluded daily lives, is the theme of The Great He-Goat.

It is a staging of famous Francisco de Goya’s Black Paintings. A visual artist’s unfulfilled longing to breathe life into his artwork led French painter and sculptor Olivier de Sagazan to create the mesmerising Transfiguration 25 years ago. Being one of the boldest names of contemporary theatre, he uses clay and colour to create an immersive experience, turning himself into a living sculpture. Xavier Bobès’ transcendental contemplation Corpus allows us to experience the performance through an intimate exploration, as if we were admiring a work of art in a gallery. Strong visual shows often challenge the viewer’s mind, for he must break free from attachment to a conceptual understanding and indulge in personal associations. This is the case with The Picture by Dorian Gray, which stages the wellknown novel with static miniature replicas of famous sculptures in elaborate spatial compositions.

The stage becomes a “blank slate” (Carte Blanche) where Israeli artist Michal Svironi creates a new stage language with colourful strokes – a paint-theatre piece in which she draws an emotional assemblage of her family’s past. M.A.R’s visual discourse on space also questions family relationships, while The Melancholy of the Tourist takes us on a journey of lost memories through a documentary discourse. Photography, the creation of untraceable images through the recording of light, is the medium of the visual poem Something

Softens, where archaic principles of optics allow for entirely new perceptions and where blur is the rule and sharpness is the event. A photo studio is also the setting for Darkroom, which was created together with Exit, both directed by Matja Solce as part of Creative Europe’s Puppets and Design project.

The two shows are brought to life together for the first time as a theatre experiment that weaves Andersen’s dream world and Solce’s distinctive fragmentary stage poetics with a meaningful critique of today’s decaying world. Macbeth Muet is a silent cry that cuts into contemporary issues of power and its abuse through an intense version of the deconstruction of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Our world is caught in a wind of change. We are trying to hold on to a world that is slipping away. The illusion of what exists is shattering and transforming before our eyes. Truth is collapsing in on itself. What is truth anyway? How can it be discovered in the hyper-production of instantly generated fake news, becomes the code of The Mountain’s carefully constructed collage. In defining truth, the intermedia performance borrows from Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Do we remain in the cave, wandering through the shadows, trapped in the the echo, or do we rise to the truth and let the sunlight illuminate us?

Like waking dreams, let the festival whisper glimpses of reality to us and breathe into the space that seemingly separates us. Let the endless gaps of translucent edges loosen and let our gaze soften in the light of tomorrow.


Ajda Rooss
Artistic Director of the
LUTKE 2022 Festival


Browse the catalogue of the Festival…


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