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Sparks 2021

Francesca Grilli

Sparks 2021 is a performance preceded by a workshop. The project is part of Francesca Grilli’s practice of investigation of the concept of body and is deeply tied to the interlacing of different disciplines. Differing from earlier projects (performances, videos, sculptures and drawings) where the body is evidence of the resistance to life, to time and to the forces of decline, Sparks 2021 focuses on the overturning of the power relation between child and adult.

Sparks 2021 pivots around the small but revolutionary action of consigning in the hands of children the reading of our future as a gesture of hope and rupture with the past. After a several days long workshop, a group of children chooses and accompanies adults inside a darkened space, where they can read their hands, one at a time and once only, thus activating an open revelatory and interpretative process, where they are themselves the makers of visions and reflections.

The entire performance is based on 3 elements: the hands – in a time when contact is negated – our most exposed body parts, visible testimony of our body, point of contact between different generations; the savvy hand reading, utilised by the children as a game to express their imagination and desires; the cap-sculptures shaped as baseball caps with a reclining visor. A playful echo of elms, once worn they signal the beginning of the performance as they shield the children from the direct gaze of the adults.

The project Sparks, as developed in its final version, includes and transforms physical distance into an element of strength. Touching between child and adult is absent but recalled by a small customised flashlight that the children use to move the adults within the space and to read their hands.

According to Francesca Grilli’s reflection, Sparks 2021 therefore transforms light into an element of intangible transmission which augments childhood’s illuminating power – the sparks – and cloaks in magic the balance of a shared game.


The workshop will take place on 12, 16 and 18 March with students of the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten Aalst.


The performance will take place on 30 October at 5pm and 6pm in Netwerk Aalst.

Reservation is necessary. Send an email to info@netwerkaalst.be

The film Rays will be screened at the same time.

With the support of

Project supported by the Italian Council (9th Edition, 2020), program to promote Italian contemporary art in the world by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism and Flanders State of the Arts.

Promoted by: Contemporary Locus
Project partner: corpoceleste_C.C.00#

Cultural partners: GAMeC (Bergamo), Associazione Teatro di Roma (Rome), Base-Milano (Milan), Gender Bender Festival (Bologna), Immaginare Orlando (Bergamo), Kaaitheater (Brussels), Kunst Meran / Merano Arte (Merano), Level Five (Brussels), MACTE (Termoli), MAXXI L’Aquila (L’Aquila), Netwerk Aalst (Aalst), RUPERT (Vilnius), Snaporazverein (Samaden), STUK (Leuven)

Sparks 2021 wishes to thank for their support during its journey: Santarcangelo Festival (Santarcangelo, IT); Welcome to the village (Leeuwarden, NL); Saal Biennaal (Tallinn, ET); workspacebrussels (Brussels, BE)

For Sparks 2021 Netwerk Aalst collaborates with Gardavoe, Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten Aalst and Rekker.