“Materia” by Andrea Salustri


“Materia” by Andrea Salustri (Italy) – a curious show for all ages.

MATERIA explores the possibilities of one material, polystyrene, to the point it becomes alive and protagonist of the events on stage. The role of the performer shifts towards the one of the facilitator, and the focus is constantly negotiated between object, manipulator and manipulation.

May 6, 2PM and 7PM, concert hall GORS (Rēzekne, Latvia)

Length of the show: 55 min

Suggested age: 6+

Warning! Strobe lighting effects will be used during this performance!


Photos: Milan Szypura



Contact juggler, fire manipulator and street artist Andrea Salustri created the show “Materia” with the goal of discovering, exploring and witnessing the aliveness of one material, polystyrene. He believes, polystyrene to be an extraordinary material, with incredible movement, texture and sound qualities. This material has a lot to say. In the show “Materia”, Salustri lets the material speak for itself and only sets the conditions to give it space and voice. “Giving space and voice to an object means first of all listening to its peculiar language, looking for those properties that are unique to that object, and manipulating it according to those,” says Salustri.

The lightness of the material allows the artist to experiment with different shapes and cuts of polystyrene. He loosens the control over the objects and lets them get manipulated and manipulate themselves with air friction and wind as the main mediums of manipulation.

In this show, contemporary circus (juggling and object manipulation) and visual art (objects, installations) meet, bringing on stage the physical manipulation of the material through sculpting, animating and melting.

The performer becomes a facilitator who allows manipulation to happen without directly gathering attention on himself. He is completely still or absent while the objects are active on stage. The attention is gradually shifting from the person manipulating the objects, to the manipulation, and finally to the object being manipulated.

“Materia” has developed a nonverbal language, through which man and polystyrene dialogue, observing and exploring the aliveness concealed within this material. In order to make the show environmentally sustainable, a species of worms (Zophobas morio) who are able to process plastic has become part of the team.  Toxic Landscape is an ongoing series of sculptures made with recycled pieces of polystyrene waste. Each artwork is the result of melting and corrosion process, through the use of a hot gun, black ink, and petrol-based fluids that break the chemical structure of polystyrene.


Andrea Salustri comes from Rome, where he learned contact juggling, fire manipulation, and has been working as a street artist.

The heroism of the circus and the centrality of the circus performer on their performance became more and more conflictual to him. What was applauded in his performances, and what he was presenting, had much more to do with himself and his abilities rather than with his work. This encouraged Salustri to start dancing and through dance, he developed new relations with his juggling practice. In 2013 Salustri studied contemporary dance in Berlin. He started manipulating common objects, not yet codified as juggling props, and therefore free from the expectations and the historical context of the circus. Rather than applying existing juggling techniques on new objects, he was now trying to find and develop a specific technique depending on the uniqueness of each object that he encountered, attempting to understand its language to enter and engage in a dialogue with it.

The performer becomes a facilitator who allows the objects to manipulate themselves.

Andrea started working on “Materia” in 2017. With this show, he became the laureate artist for circusnext 2018-2019.