Two figures in black, backs towards us, convulse with tremors as if hiccupping or retching uncontrollably – then slowly turn to reveal that their fits are of laughter. Who is the joke on?
In Harleking, Ginevra Panzetti and Enrico Ticconi channel a harlequinade style of mannered gestures and jesterly attitude through jerky, robotic machinations. They project both an air of courtliness and a feeling of profound mistrust. Beckoning fingers invite us closer, backed by exaggerated smiles and flourishes. A sequence of bends and stretches feels like a warm-up of ominous intent. At one moment their actions resolve into a kind of Nazi salute, their fingers semaphoring some other, more cryptic code. At another, Panzetti appears to break Ticconi’s neck and he slumps twitching to the floor. It’s shocking; but shockingly too, they then turn back to us, convulsed by silent sniggers. The joke, oh yes, is on us.