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Chris Dercon is an art historian, a documentary filmmaker and cultural producer.
He has led several major cultural institutions including; PS1 Museum in New York, Witte de With – Center for Contemporary Art and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Haus der Kunst in Munich, and Tate Modern in London. From September 2017 he will return to Germany, and live arts, as intendant of Volksbühne Berlin.
Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s Dercon studied art history, film theory and theatre-science in the Netherlands, working with Belgian actor Johan Leysen amongst others. Dercon was very active in the Belgian and Dutch performance, avant-garde theatre, and dance scene. Working in cooperation with LAKtheater Leiden, De Appel Amsterdam, De Nieuwe Workshop Brussels, Onafhankelijk Toneel Rotterdam, Klapstuk Festival Leuven, Beursschouwburg Brussel, Alternatives Theatrales Brussels, Mickery Theatre Amsterdam, and The Kitchen New York. He also created the international Theatre Tape Festival.
Dercon developed programs for Belgian Radio and Television exploring dance and film and actively wrote for many publications, including Toneel Teatraal, on the topics of video and theatre, performance, and dance, including features on Karole Armitage, Charles Atlas, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham.
Dercon included in experimental exhibitions- such as *Doch Doch* (1985, Leuven), *In de Maelstroom* (1986, Brussels), and *Theatergarden Bestiarium* (1988/89, New York)- theatre and dance works by Charles Atlas, Chantal Akerman, Glenn Branca, James Coleman, and Onafhankelijk Toneel, and others.
30 years later Dercon returned to live arts in Munich, at the Haus der Kunst, the Münchner Kammerspiele and at Tate Modern.
As director of Haus der Kunst in Munich, Dercon championed the development of live-arts through collaborations with, and publications on; Allan Kaprow, Alexander Kluge, Paul McCarthy, Garin Nugroho, Christoph Schlingensief, Patti Smith, and Apitchatpong Weerasethakul.
The encounters in Munich, at the Kammerspiele, with directors Matthias Lilienthal and Johan Simons brought Dercon again nearer to theatre, with projects such as *Into the Night with…*, a documentary film television series with Lilienthal for Arte, and the Münchner Kammerspiele conversation series *Dercon &* - hosting Susan Kennedy, Romuald Karmakar, Alexander Kluge, Rabih Mroué, Philip Ruch, and Wolfgang Tillmans.
Under Dercon's directorship, Tate Modern has presented projects, live and digital, by performers such as; Charles Atlas, Jérôme Bel, Boris Charmatz, Tim Etchells, Andrea Fraser, Anna Teresa De Keersmaeker, Sung Hwan Kim, Kraftwerk, Rabih Mroué, Christoph Schlingensief, and Michael Smith, amongst others.