Dog Troep was founded by Warner van Wely and Paul de Leeuw as a means of protesting against the inaccessibility of the dominant forms of “high art.” Their inspiration came primarily from contemporary English performance groups such as Phantom Captain, Welfare State and John Bull Puncture Repair Kit.
Warner van Wely, Jos Zandvliet and Lino Hellings were the core members of the group from its inception in 1975 until 1990. With Cathrien Bos coming on board to run the business side, they established the company’s artistic credentials and set about taking their work worldwide.
The company’s work was resolutely multi-disciplinary: actions and images were constantly combined and intertwined; all members worked in all artistic disciplines, regardless of their educational background. The key components of their performances were simple but powerful: raw materials, inventive constructions, grotesque, colourful figures, percussion and brass instruments and the liberal use of water and fire.
The group worked as a collective, with a degree of guidance. All members enjoyed a great deal of autonomy, with the artistic director proposing certain principles, taking key decisions and working to tie together the disparate elements.
"Our work is about situations: the architecture of the performance space and the audience present are crucial factors in shaping the performance."