Choreographer Jérôme Bel’s Disabled Theater is a collaboration between Bel and 11 actors from Zurich’s Theater Hora, Switzerland’s best-known professional theater company comprised of actors with learning and mental disabilities. With Disabled Theater, Bel opens up a space where disability is not expelled from visual and discursive practices, nor hidden behind the screen of political correctness.
Instead, he places it squarely at the center of a discourse that has a bearing on both the aesthetic and political dimensions. Sparking both debate and praise across Europe, the work was a sensation at Documenta 13. Roberta Smith of the New York Times dubbed it “transcendent art,” adding that she “started shocked and disoriented and ended up completely caught up in it and grateful for what it revealed to me about what is often called ‘our common humanity.”
I was smiling