ANATOMY OF A CROATIAN BODY
To denude means to make bare. To denude is to strip something or someone of covering, possessions or assets. Emotionally and intellectually, Dobrović’s body-centered solo has the capacity to carry you away. It does elicit a hypnotic or magnetic pull, as it did for me. He constrains his bodily performance, and yet his minimalist restraint opens up possibilities for audiences. In my case, its beauty swung from zeroing in on selective but intimate details to unguarded and too-expressive belief.
There can be no doubt that DENUDED re-exposes us to the trend of combining different art practices in the areas of conceptual art, body movement and performance art. For some of last night’s audience, Dobrović’s unapologetic nakedness confronts us with phallic desire and impenetrable curiosity. Dobrović breaks out voyeuristic spell upon us. He is shrewd. He begins with purpose and easygoing grace. While he pitches words at us conversationally, he calmly trods from one side of the Downstairs blackbox to the opposite end. He tells us what interests him — “theater.” And then he disrobes — quickly — then goes center stage and lets us view his chest, his nipples, the line that divides his abs, his low-hanging penis and his alert eyes.
DENUDED does elicit a hypnotic or magnetic pull, as it did for me. To denude means to make bare. It’s a damn shame that the festival gave Isakovic only one night to perform.
He slips into a kind of character but falls silent. He normalizes our spectating of his uncovered body. Dobrović’s casual transition struck me as somewhat in tune with the acting techniques of Off-Broadway director Seth Barrish who asks his student and professional actors to relax any inhibitions and, if possible, directly speak to audiences before launching into an execution. (An acting coach, Barrish co-founded of the Barrow Group.) Similarly, DENUDED prepares us before going into the heart of the matter.
Yes, it is true. DENUDED evokes Dobrović’s stated festival approach of “demystifying the borders of privacy, sexuality and nakedness.” “Bodies,” the press release continues, are “engaged in organic, brutally decelerated, and controlled movement that gradually shifts in texture and scale.”
Yes again. Isaković succeeds in the show’s gradual shifts of the male body and our female/male gaze. DENUDED is artistically satisfying and a self-defining solo encounter. It does live inside the field of dance and theater and visual art. For me, it rhymes with, say, the Japanese duo Eiko and Koma‘s theater of movement out of stillness, physical shape and clarifying light. Except that DENUDED is entirely different and brings us separate concerns. It’s a damn shame that the festival has given Isaković only one night to perform his solo. I would have later returned.