Jan Lauwers (Antwerp, 1957) is an artist who works in just about every medium. Over the last 25 years he has become best known for his pioneering work for the stage with Needcompany, which was founded in Brussels in 1986. From 2009 until 2014 Needcompany has been artist-in-residence at the Burgtheater in Vienna. Over the years he has also built up a substantial body of art work which was shown in an exhibition at BOZAR (Brussels) in 2007. Jan Lauwers is awarded with the ‘Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic Austria’ (2012). In 2014, he has been rewarded with the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement Award at the Venice Biennale. He is the first Belgian to receive this prize in the theatre category.
Jan Lauwers studied painting at the Academy of Art in Ghent. At the end of 1979 he gathered round him a number of people to form the Epigonenensemble. In 1981 this group was transformed into the Epigonentheater zlv collective which took the theatre-world by surprise with its six stage productions. In this way Jan Lauwers took his place in the movement for radical change in Flanders in the early 1980s, and also made his international breakthrough. Epigonentheater zlv presented direct, concrete, highly visual theatre that used music and language as structuring elements. Their productions were “Already Hurt and not yet War” (1981), “dE demonstratie” (1983), “Bulletbird” (1983), “Background of a Story” (1984) and “Incident” (1985). Jan Lauwers disbanded this collective in 1985 and founded Needcompany.
As of May 2016