Dance review: Wim Vandekeybus / Ultima Vez – booty Looting – London

There’s a moment in Wim Vandekeybus’s current touring production for Ultima Vez in which the German actor Birgit Walter, playing a character called “Birgit Walter”, holds a series of scripted dialogues with professional actors documented photographically in a kind of visual-arts-project-cum-therapeutic-reconstruction of the “Walter” character’s lost relationships with her three dead children. The scene is dense with reference and self-reference, suggesting the near-madness brought on by Walter’s grief, the therapeutic role of art for the maker, the cathartic role of art for the viewer. But it’s all false, of course; the biographical Walter has not suffered the grief of losing three children and the story justifying her photographic project is as fake as the backdrops used to suggest kitchen windows, caravan holidays and supermarket aisles in the photographs that seem to document these conversations.

booty Looting, Vandekeybus’s 23rd production for his company, is full of this sort of thing – self-deception, self-justification, self-mythologising constructions that peel off in layers without ever seeming to hit the thing in itself. Plato famously banned artists from his Republic because art is illusory, a copy of a copy of an ideal. Vandekeybus plays with the notion of art as theft, cheerily nicking from his own idols and even from himself in a work that ties a dizzying series of knots in its own logic. Read more at