Cover image by Henk Tas, whose staged photography with strong pop culture influences was much admired in the 1980s (and beyond) and was regarded as a fine example of Dutch postmodern art.

Van het Postmodernisme

Edited by Jeroen Boomgaard and Sebastian Lopez

In the early 1980s, I closely followed experimental dance and theatre, mostly from the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, USA, and Italy. Italian critics writing on the subject were fascinated by postmodernism (which in architecture and product design had been thriving since the mid-1970s) and eager to connect that movement to theatre. I did two things between 1981 and 1984: I started writing for the specialized Dutch monthly Toneel Teatraal, and was working on the graduation thesis for my Master’s (“doctoraal” at the time) in Theory of Literature. And so I became one of first Dutch theatre critics to write about postmodern performance; and focused on postmodernism for my thesis.

Through my articles in Toneel Teatraal, the editors of the essay collection Van het Postmodernisme discovered me as a rare source of (some) information about postmodern performance, and invited me to write an essay for their book. My article “Mutantentheater” (Mutant theatre) was a pretty ambitious piece, making connections between new Dutch theatre performances, Umberto Eco’s article on postmodernism published as an afterwird to The Name of the Rose, Lyotard’s exhibition Les Immatériaux in Centre Pompidou, and the subversive Italian comic Xerox. Oh well… My first substantial essay on the subject would never be exceeded. I will, one day, make an English translation of the piece. I could try to scan and OCR the Dutch text for my Articles section, but I’m lazy.