Fuerzabruta – Argentina’s spectacular performance art

Theatrical and spectacular, Fuerzabruta brought their visually stunning show to London last week.

The Argentinian performance artists transformed the Roundhouse into a space where imaginations ran wild.

Part dream, part surreal experience, the show has to be seen to be believed.

This fantastic journey starts with wild drumming from a group of musicians which reaches a crescendo as it echoes louder and louder across the venue.

Then the show explodes into action with a man in a white suit running on a treadmill, whilst cardboard brick walls and doors smash into him.

Even after being shot, he continues to run onwards like a man possessed as he is assaulted by a variety of obstacles whilst a rain shower and falling shards of silver descend from the ceiling.

It’s the show’s most striking and disturbing sequence… but many more moments of sensation and spectacle are to follow.

Running man

The running man c/o Fuerzabruta

Wild spontaneity

Fuerzabruta means ‘brute force’ in Spanish… and the show does have a wildness and spontaneity, a primitive explosive surge.

This is performance art as ‘entertainment’ and it draws on every trick from the theatrical box.

The show combines aerial acrobatics with theatrical stunts, carnival, and circus. There’s even elements of clubbing and a wild bacchanalia.

Think of an adult playground which mixes the artistry of Cirque du Soleil, the surreal presentation of the Blue Man Group and the orgiastic delights of an Ibizan night club.

All this is set to a South American soundtrack – with a few techno beats thrown in.

In one striking sequence two huge transparent swimming pools descend from the ceiling to the audience’s head height.

Nymph-like women in bikinis play like mermaids whilst the audience cranes to touch the plastic pool bottoms as they disappear out of reach.

In another intriguing image, a man and woman cling on and flail around like lost spirits on two sides of an enormous, spinning sail.

Their attempts to make contact are doomed as they fail to make a connection… and spin out of control.

Another spectacle sees a trio of eccentric characters descending down ‘worm holes’ in a giant plastic domed structure into the audience.

There are many daring acrobatic stunts although it’s unclear what all of the show means or if there’s a story that links the various spectacular pieces and characters together.

The show has been described as a “sensory onslaught” and I wouldn’t disagree with that.

It’s best not to over-analyse this very post-modern show which is more about sensation than making sense.

Argentinian artistry

I’d love to see Fuerzabruta in their home country of Argentina.

From what I’ve seen on their YouTube channel, they produce some amazing street shows and outdoor performance spectacles.

These range from recreating a ship’s voyage on a Buenos Aires street to their interpretation of the Malvinas conflict in a highly visual, theatrical procession.

But it’s their flaming wall of fire show that intrigues me the most.

Now that is pure sensation presented in a very visceral and primitive style. Brute force bottled as performance art…

Here they are in action in Buenos Aires with a stunning show of pyrotechnics… which I’d love to see in South America.

And if you are lucky enough to see them on their world tour, expect the unexpected!

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