Since this year, Panama Pictures has been working with associated artists: young, promising creators who will be assisted on an artistic and organizational level in the development of their productions for two years. They receive advice and feedback on dramaturgy, movement language, composition, décor, costume and lighting design. In the studio of Panama Pictures they can rehearse, and invite audience and professionals for presentations and viewings. The first associated artist is Julian Vogel.

The Swiss Julian Vogel is a multi-artist; he studied at the Academy for Circus and Performance Art in Tilburg (specialization diabolo), but he also produces music, works with dance and makes visual arts. With other artists he is now working on a project where all these disciplines meet: CHINA SERIES, an assemblage of dance and circus performances, sculptures, installations and publications. With diabolos of ceramics and porcelain in the leading role.


Julian Vogel: “Those ceramics and porcelain diabolos were created by chance actually. At the Academy I specialized in working with the diabolo and wondered what else I could do with it. When I saw a ceramic bowl with the same shape in the kitchen, I started practicing with it – it opened up a whole new experience. Because ceramics are so fragile, an interesting tension arises. Me and the audience are constantly asking themselves: what if they break, fall apart? Somewhere you want it to happen, but at the same time you fear for that moment.

Because I make a lot of diabolos myself with pottery from second-hand stores, there is also recognition by the viewer: the pattern on the diabolo reminds you of the breakfast plates you used to have at home, the colors remind you of someone who had such teacups. Something so beautiful and familiar shouldn’t break…

And then there is the moment after the break: suddenly a completely different shape emerges. Such a diabolo is smooth, delicate and vulnerable, but its shards are dangerous, you can get ugly from that. All these contradictions produce beautiful moments, aesthetically and dramaturgically”.

Deconstruction and reconstruction

“My collaboration with Panama Pictures is not new: Pia already coached me at the Academy and I made music for a performance of her before. Panama Pictures and I understand each other, there is a connection, we know and recognize each other’s work. So when Pia asked me if I wanted to work on my production with her company, I was immediately excited. 

I will continue with my CHINA SERIES project. That is an ongoing process and now consists of fifteen parts: performances, installations and all kinds of variations on them. In the coming weeks I will continue with variation four in the studio and later in the European Ceramic Work Center in Oisterwijk. In this variation I investigate the interaction between the shards of my diabolos and the human body. Deconstruction and reconstruction: breaking something down and then making something new out of the broken parts. Recycling: giving the material other meanings.

What is it going to be? I don’t know yet, it has to emerge. From 25 January to 12 February I work with various artists, Panama Pictures’ regular performer Tarek Rammo for example, and a few boxes full of broken ceramics – I never throw anything away. In this way I want to show the path of life, of materials and people. Something that suddenly takes on a new form, another purpose, but remains valuable. Maybe even more valuable, that’s what we’re going to discover”.

Here you can read and see more about CHINA SERIES.