Josef Nadj was born in 1957 in Kanjiza, a province of Vojvodina in the former Yugoslavia, in what is today Serbia. Beginning in childhood, he drew, practiced wrestling, accordeon, soccer and chess, intending a career in painting. Between the ages of 15 and 18, he studied at the fine arts high school of Novi Sad (the capital of Vojvodina), followed by 15 months of military service in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Afterwards, he left to study art history and music at the Academy of Fine Arts and at the University of Budapest, where he also began studying physical expression and acting.
In 1980, he left for Paris to continue his training with Marcel Marceau, Etienne Ducroux. Simultaneously he discovered modern dance, at the time in a period of swift expansion in France. He followed the teachings of Larri Leong (who combined dance, kimomichi and aidido) and Yves Cassati, also taking classes in tai-chi, butoh and contact improvisation (with Mark Tompkins), began himself to teach the movement arts in 1983 (in France and Hungary), and participated as a performer in works by Sidonie Rochon (Papier froissé, 1984), Mark Tompkins (Trahison Men, 1985), Catherine Diverrès (l’Arbitre des élégances, 1988) and François Verret (Illusion comique and La, commissioned by the GRCOP, 1986).
In 1986 he founded his company, Théâtre JEL – “jel” meaning “sign” in Hungarian – and created his first work, Canard Pékinois, presented in 1987 at the Théâtre de la Bastille and remounted the following year at the Théâtre de la Ville in Paris.
Up to now, he is the author of about thirty performances.
In 1982, Josef Nadj completely abandoned drawing and painting to dedicate himself fully to dance, and would not begin showing his work again until fifteen years later. But in 1989 he began practicing photography, pursuing it without interruption to the present. Since 1996, his visual arts and graphic works, most often conceived in cycles or series – sculpture-installations, drawings, photos – have been regularly exhibited in galleries and theatres.
In 2006, Josef Nadj was Associated Artist for the 60th Festival of Avignon, presenting Asobu as the festival's opening performance in the Court of Honour of the Palais des Papes, as well as Paso doble, a performance created in collaboration with the painter Miquel Barcelo at the Celestins Church. In July 2010, he returned to present Les Corbeaux, a duet with Akosh zelevényi.
To mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Anton Chekhov, Valery Shadrin, director of the Chekhov International Theatre Festival and Artistic Director of the Year 2010 France-Russia, invited Josef Nadj for the creation of a show dedicated to the playwright, which was performed in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Josef Nadj was present at the Prague Quadrennial of 16 to 26 June 2011. TheQuadrennial held in Prague since 1967, is the most famous event in the world for performing arts. More than sixty countries attended this year. Josef Nadj was selected to participate in the project "Intersection" based on intimacy and performance. An ephemeral village was created, which consisted of boxes (“white cubes / black boxes") that stood for thirty world-renowned artists, each one represented by a different box. Since 1995, Josef Nadj has been the director of the Centre Chorégraphique National d’Orléans.
Source : Josef Nadj
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