This group work for six dancers and three musicians was created as part of a French-Spanish European project, similar to the system which led to the creation of “Cantieri” in 2002. Performed successively at the Théâtre National de Bretagne de Rennes in autumn 2008 during the Mettre en scène Festival – a festival in which we remember Catherine Diverrès had already presented “Le Double de la bataille” in 1999 and “Solides” in 2004 –, then in Spain at the Teatro de la Laborial, Asturias, Gijon in March 2009 followed by the Teatro del Canal in Madrid as part of the festival Madrid en Danza the same year. Catherine Diverrès developed her creation during the period where she was in the process of leaving the National Choreographic Centre of Rennes and Brittany (CCNRB), which she had been running for fifteen years.
Lending itself totally to cross-border cooperation, the work comprises performers from both nationalities: four French performers, familiar with Catherine Diverrès’ work, and two Spanish performers, taken on following training related to her previous creation “Blowin’”, organized by the Rennes-based choreographer at the Institut Français in Madrid shortly before. In her statements, the choreographer clearly establishes a link with the aforementioned work and insists on the listening acuity which her performers developed during this ambitious staging of improvisation principles, and which they continue to be immersed in at the beginning of this new creative process (see "Une heure avec Catherine Diverrès", CND, 2008).
Following on from this previous work, the music will be performed, this time, live and direct by the same improvisers Seijiro Murayama and Jean-Luc Guionnet. They also lend themselves to the Company’s cross-border cooperation by welcoming on stage a trans-Pyrenees musician, Mattin, whilst Catherine Diverrès opens the writing of the work to the Spanish choreographer Monica Valenciano, whom she met a few years before when she visited the CCNRB.
The creative process is naturally inflected as a result of this dual signature. Together, the two choreographers decided to carry out their work individually, both having assimilated the work of Maria Zambrano whose philosophical writing queries the boundary between the intimate and the collective through the question on its positioning during the Franco regime. The Spanish choreographer’s contribution is established beforehand as a 10-minute sequence, accompanied by a production by the Spanish videomaker Chus Dominguez (“Impregnaciones en la señorita nieve y guitarra”, 2008, 13 min) for which she was the protagonist.
The creation began with three weeks of work at the Institut Français in Madrid during which the performers put together a proposal, under the direction of Monica Valenciano, before heading back to Rennes and Catherine Diverrès. The latter chose to focus her areas of work mainly on the question of borders, boundaries that lead to what separates the Intimate, the Private, from the Public, from the Home and consequently with the painter Francisco Goya and the house where he resided for six years in the countryside around Madrid and, at that time, had been deaf for twenty years as a result of a severe illness.
The title of “La Maison du sourd” – La quinta del sordo (The Villa of the Deaf)– which the choreographer kept, uses the name used by neighbours when talking about this building, organized over two floors and whose walls the Madrid painter progressively covered with an incredible cycle of fourteen paintings created al secco and subsequently referred to as “black paintings” due to the dark, often fantasy-like, violent and tortured subjects that they centre staged.
Here, Catherine Diverrès pays a subtle tribute to, what she considers to be, one of the major artistic movements of contemporary painting by turning around the status of F. Goya, from being the King’s official painter, to becoming the painter of black paintings, from figuration to fantasy, and in making him cross the border of exploring the unconscious, a subject whose first signs could be seen during his first illness in the 1790s. His painting “Yard with Lunatics” is an early illustration of this.
Although Goya’s work nourished this creation, it is, however, only quoted tangentially, like this silhouette of a vertical donkey mounted on stilts or swinging on a rope swing, or this elegant white-laced dress, topped by a mask bearing grimacing figures, etc. Through these mentions, Catherine Diverrès is also revisiting her repertoire by going back to these phantasmagoric visions which she had previously used to populate her work “Ces poussières ” with in 1993.
For the stage design, Laurent Peduzzi, with whom she has pursued the collaboration initiated when creating “Corpus” in 1999, imagined a screen of tulle stretched across the centre of the stage, moving in the same way as the ebbing and flowing of memory (present, past, latency, recurrence, etc.) and roaming through the work like a guiding thread conjuring up these entangled temporalities.
Claire Delcroix, March 2016