Gogol Center, Moscow
Presented in the frame of Russian Case 2021
Director: Kirill Serebrennikov
BAROCCO is not just a performance. It is a spectacle in which the actors sing, dance, climb a telegraph pole with the help of climbing irons and swallow a sword. Andy Warhol when taking a walk can easily run into Joan of Arc, and arias from operas by Monteverdi and Handel overlay philosophical texts by Deleuze and Bataille. The plot of this staggering and deliberately overpowering performance enters into an unobvious but important polemic with Trier's "The House that Jack Built". The Danish director rhymed an artist with a maniac. Serebrennikov rhymed an artist with a Barocco man, who "like a pearl of irregular shape" is always alone. Both Trier and Serebrennikov imbued their opuses with personal reminiscences: one with fragments from his films and the other with cleverly encrypted lines from his earlier productions ("Kafka", "Who is Happy in Russia" and "A Naked Pioneer"). While Trier’s eye is merciless: instead of putting an artist on a par with a serial killer he questions the very status of the artist and deprives him of the aura of a specially chosen one. Serebrennikov, on the contrary, reinforces a romanticized image of an artist who, like Prometheus, restores fire to humankind. He is comparable to the one who sacrificed himself (like Jan Palach). He does not fit into any trend and could, like Andy Warhol, become a target of an assassination attempt by a violent feminist. He is likened to a pianist, handcuffed to a riot policeman, whilst still knocking out Bach's "Chakona" on the piano. Serebrennikov has the right to create such a slogan-like image, having rehearsed BAROCCO when he was under house arrest. His romanticization of the baroque man who breaks all the rules and regulations is very convincing, being paid for with his own bitter experience. 

Marina Davydova