Far Beyond the Moment
by Dieter Jaenicke
Stage artists usually have a good portion of exhibitionism at their disposal. Actors and dancers present themselves on stage as the medium of their art. Opposite them are photographers who need a certain degree of voyeurism for their artistic and documentary work. Such antagonists attract and repel each other. Consequently the relationship between photographers and directors or choreographers is often tense, complicated, fused with jealousy or mistrust. The one makes use of the other’s art for his own form of artistic expression. Hamburg photographer Thomas Fuesser found a completely individual way to resolve this complicated relationship creatively. For more than a decade he accompanied the Internationales Sommertheater Festival Hamburg. But he didn’t ‘shoot’ stage photos, he didn’t depict the sensational moments of flying and falling in dance theatre or actors’ and performers’ professional ecstasies, he didn’t take possession of the art of theatre people, he didn’t dispossess and alienate the artistic productions of those he wanted to photograph. Attentively and, at the beginning, imperceptibly Thomas Fuesser watched the stage artists’ work in detail, in order to then build his own stage: a seemingly old-fashioned wooden camera, almost always a few small hints towards the theatre production or choreography by an artist he had seen. At once reserved and eloquently persistent Thomas Fuesser brought many of the most important protagonists in the performing arts in front of his camera. Legendary pioneers such as Edouard Lock, Reza Abdoh, Jan Lauwers, Alain Platel or Saburo Teshigawara found themselves in front of Fuesser’s camera and likewise artists who usually don’t like to be photographed such as Jan Fabre, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Rina Yerushalmi, Ohad Naharin and even Lloyd Newson. Thomas Fuesser’s striking portraits tell the stories of artists and their works in an entirely distinct style, they document a part of contemporary history, an immensely creative decade in the performing arts. They catch intimate moments and statements of artists’ personalities who have influenced the performing arts at the turn of the century. “Please don’t Move” is also a subjective documentation of 15 years of the Internationales Sommertheater Festival Hamburg, of the programmes Gabriele Naumann and I have presented, of the artists we were able to invite, produce and accompany. With his portraits Thomas Fuesser has created photographs of the transient performing arts which will maintain their artistic and documentary value far beyond the ‘moment’.