Klavier Festival Ruhr
zur deutschen Version English language selected Petruschka
Art workshops
Petrushka in the fine arts

The figure of the sad fairground clown Petrushka and his Western European equivalents Pierrot, Kasper and Harlequin have inspired composers like Stravinsky as well as also many painters and artists. Thus it seemed appropriate to include painting and visual art alongside music and dance in the Petrushka project.

In an intensive week-long block of workshops pupils from comprehensive and grammar schools (Realschulen and Gymnasien) in Bochum worked together on the main protagonists of the ballet – Petrushka, the Moor and the Ballerina. Under the guidance of artist Daniel Man they made three larger-than-life wooden figures which were displayed on the 27th October 2007 at the intercultural fair in Bochum’s Jahrhunderthalle.

Comprehensive and grammar school pupils from Bochum work on giant wooden figures
On the artistic work of the participants

Daniel Man: “The starting point of the work was an engagement with the figures and their history. In Stravinsky’s ballet their different character traits are evoked vividly. The Moor is strong and fearless, quick-tempered and brutal; the Ballerina is pretty but affected; Petrushka, more commonly known in Germany as Kasper, is a clown tormented by strong emotions.

The children were faced with the challenge of depicting these character traits convincingly in their artwork. How can one show naivety, violence or humour with colours or shapes?”

Daniel Man and the pupils discussed these questions and experimented with a variety of different artistic techniques, in particular with forms of exaggeration and caricature.

Daniel Man's sketches for the ballerina, the moor and PetrushkaDaniel Man's sketches for the ballerina, the moor and Petrushka
The exhibition space

The pupils took their cue from the specific architecture of the Jahrhunderthalle. Its monumental dimensions demanded exhibits large enough to dominate its vast space. With the idea of the intercultural fair in mind, Daniel Man and the project participants opted for oversized flat wooden figures, reminiscent of characters from traditional Balinese shadow theatre.

The giant figures in the Jahrhunderthalle BochumThe giant figures in the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum
Playing together like an orchestra – the approach to the work

During the project week the pupils worked in small groups. The individual parts of the figures were designed, cut out, and finally painted with acrylic paint. Fine details played an important role in creating and underlining the character traits of each figure.

With each group working on a different part of a much larger sculpture, effective communication between the various groups was vital. Each participant’s contribution had to fit into the larger concept and this could only be achieved by careful cooperation.

Artist Daniel Man helps the pupils with the wooden figures