The past few days in class we have been looking at physical and devised theatre. We have also been investigating how theatrical performances can be created and inspired from visual arts.

An excellent example of that, that we investigated is Shen Wei’s influence from Paul Delvaux’s paintings.

Shen Wei

Shen Wei is a Chinese-born American choreographer, visual artist, and director who resides in New York City. He is known for choreographing the opening dance of the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.

Some of Wei’s work has been influenced greatly by Paul Devraux. Paul Delvaux was a Belgian painter associated with Surrealism, famous for his paintings of female nudes.


Delvaux’s aim by including nudity in his work is to mix up everyday scenes with unfitting nudity. Being nude is something really natural as we are all born this way. At the same time, those scenes that he portrays everyday situations that are normal as well. Nevertheless, when combining those two normalities something weird and memorable reimburses from this clash, that creates social scepticism. Nudity and skeletons are showing a bare human that finds himself in situations that he usually is in covered.

Adaptations include the geometrical shapes of the background, the cold and soft colours of Delvaux’s palette and the physical movements of the people shown.

It is important not to copy what is shown but get inspired by the painting and transfer the atmosphere to the work.


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