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mathilde monnier & dominique figarella

world premiere from 4 to 6 juillet 2010 . montpellier danse festival
dance yoann demichelis, julien gallée-ferré,  thiago granato, i-fang lin

The first encounter with Dominique Figarella will revolve around his artwork. My discovery of his work was a potent eye-opener, igniting my curiosity about painting. The relationship between dance and painting is rooted in a long tradition, where painting enters the realm of dance and performance by way of stage backdrops.

The canvas creates a vertical space that displays the artwork, while also functioning as decor. For this show, we wish to invert the process, i.e. to start out in the lab, which will serve both as rehearsal room and art studio. We shall mingle our respective disciplines to create a theater space that will ensue from the painting-in-progress. The choreographic work will derive from the artwork, altering it as well as shaping it.   

We shall thus present the audience with a two-way situation. This creative venture will resist resorting to an outer theme. Rather, our aim is to dialogue and enact a readable work process that can comprise a self-contained performance.  The question that arises is as follows:  does dance without a subject become abstract?
This is not about locating ourselves within a specific current, nor about investigating the role of abstraction in dance (even Cunningham said that his work was not abstract). It is about asserting that the theme is the practice.  The building blocks of this project will be the materials themselves, whether paints and brushes, or texts, tracks and gestures."  mathilde monnier


theater version / show

The stage gets filled with a substance, it spreads until it invades the stage.  It interferes with the dancers, forcing them to gradually form a whirling body as the spreading stage event keeps growing. This “world substance” becomes the new environment in which the dancers must evolve and move, in which the body changes and adapts rather than being a construction tool.
The stage as a surface for common projection : through the principle of reciprocal transfer, the painter Dominique Figarella and the choreographer Mathilde Monnier have invented this painting-stage to become a cut-out, stepped-on canvas which has been reconciled by the actions which give it consistence.
A Picasso set with stage designs by Robert Rauschenberg for Merce Cunningham, painting and dance have often met before - without actually mixing their (respective) brushes.
In Soapéra, dancers-plastic artists create an evolving space, using the available materials as tools, pictorial elements or dynamic support. Their bodies, bursts of light, continually create structures - framing, moving, spreading.  It resists, it comes apart, it moves…moves the dancers. As the stage gets imbued with traces of these materials, a sculptural event reveals itself, made up of all the successive layers. In a quest for an “exchange of shapes”, Mathilde Monnier and Dominique Figarella have created a Non Identified Dancing Object.  A playful pop opera.
Dialogue holds a determining place in the work of Mathilde Monnier. In her collaborations with Jean-Luc Nancy, Christine Angot, Philippe Katerine or La Ribot, alignments of mirrors are used, challenging the limits of the codes of representation. In Dominique Figarella's work, unusual substances, texts, textures and stains disturb the normal reading of a canvas, inviting the spectator to let their imagination drift. gilles amalvi for the program of the festival d'automne

art center version / performance

The show Soapéra is intended for contemporary art venues.

The collaboration with the visual artist Dominique Figarella has led us to offer this new definitely more sculptural version, a performance which takes place on a stage in the shape of a white cube.  
The aim is to extract three dramatic moments taken from Soapéra and project them into the exhibition space.
This transfer, into the white cube, of scenes which were initially conceived for theater is the opportunity to further our collaboration and alter the spectators' normal position by eliminating the separation between spectators and stage.
The three scenes are chronologically given shape as the stage space progressively disappears, resulting in the dancers leaving the stage and performing directly in the audience space.
The generic white of the exhibition space, which traditionally supports and is the background for works of art, becomes a mise-en-abyme within a space at monumental scale.
It materializes through an ephemeral material which progressively invades the space, turning the dramatic space into a white box. The shapes that spring up do not end up hanging on the wall but are manipulated on the spot before they disappear. The performance unfolds according to the dramaturgy linked to this moment of disappearance and the incursion of the dancers within the audience.  
This is both a plastic arts and a choreographic piece which places the spectator at the heart of the artistic structure.  mathilde monnier


conception mathilde monnier & dominique figarella
choreography mathilde monnier
visual art dominique figarella
dance yoann demichelis, julien gallée-ferré,  thiago granato, i-fang lin
stage collaboration annie tolleter
sound realization olivier renouf
light design éric wurtz
costume realization laurence alquier

festival montpellier danse 2010 / centre pompidou - les spectacles vivants / festival d'automne - paris / künstlerhaus mousonturm frankfurt et tanzlabor_21 / centre chorégraphique national de montpellier languedoc-roussillon

dominique figarella's piece realised in the frame of “la commande publique du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (direction générale de la création artistique/direction régionale des affaires culturelles du languedoc-roussillon.)

duration of the show 50'

film director karim zeriahen
editing of video clip karim zeriahen 

updating january, 19th, 2011

Monnier, Mathilde

Mathilde Monnier holds a reference position in the French and international contemporary dance landscape. Her creations continuously defy expectations thanks to constant renewal. Her nomination as director of the Centre Chorégraphique de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon in 1994 has initiated a series of collaborations with people coming from different artistic domains. From artist Beverly Semmes to philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy from film director Claire Denis, Mathilde Monnier has always pushed the boundaries of a work she sees as an experience above all. Musical creation holds an important position with very varied collaborations within the fields of popular as well as scholarly music - jazz musician Louis Sclavis, composers David Moss and Heiner Goebbels, virtuoso platinist eriKm. More recently, she has used PJ Harvey's rock music but also the pink pop settings 2008 vallée, the show she co-created with singer Philippe Katerine. It came to a glorious end in the Main Courtyard at the 2008 Avignon festival. Fascinated by the concept of unison, she created the pastoral Tempo 76 show at the Montpellier Danse 07 festival on Gyôrgy Ligeti's music. In february 2008 she was commissionned by the Berlin Philarmonic Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle to choreograph Heiner Goebbels opera, Surrogate Cities. More than 130 amateurs went on stage to take part to an opera dealing with the city and the power struggle within. The same year, she presented the burlesque duet Gustavia in which she appeared along with spanish performance artist La Ribot at the Montpellier Danse 08 festival. In 2009, she created Pavlova 3'23'', in reference to the classical ballet The Death of The Swan. In 2010, working in close collaboration with visual artist Dominique Figarella, Mathilde Monnier created the show Soapéra, and subsequently paid homage to Merce Cunningham by way of the show Un américain à paris. In 2011, together with choreographer Loïc Touzé and writer Tanguy Viel, Mathilde Monnier created Nos images, a work focusing on film. Together with Jean-François Duroure, she restaged Pudique acide / Extasis at the Festival Montpellier Danse 11, two duos that the choreographers created in 1984 and 1985.

Source : Mathilde Monnier 

En savoir plus : 

Zeriahen, Karim

From live stage images to life in images, the  director and video artist Karim Zeriahen seems to have found the  shortest way. Since the beginning of the 90s, when he worked in close  relationship with choreographer Philippe Decouflé, he learned how to put  the art of stage in motion, contemporary dance most of the time. Karim  Zeriahen then starts a fruitful collaboration with Montpellier based  choreographer Mathilde Monnier. Stop, Videlilah, day of night, short  films adapted from her stage creations. Each time, Karim Zeriahen's   camera takes over the place with movement, the body language is not  frozen but magnified. Choreographer Herman Diephuis also joins this  gallery of dancing portraits. Documentaries on figures such like Albert  Maysles or Hubert de Givenchy and from Joe Dalessandro to Paul  Morrissey, he sets a signature, a camera always in action with  confidence.

Today the director goes further with a new  project and tracks the subtle movements of the body language beyond the  physical appearance. A collection of living portraits as unique pièces  reminding us of the master portraitists of renaissance. These living  natures consists in filming the subject in a certain amount of time,  almost still, with signs of respiration, eye blinks, as if it were  posing for a painting. They are then displayed on a flat screen with a  memory card. With this collection starting, Karim Zeriahen, with his  documentary and artist vision, interrogates himself about the virtual  world filled with images. By taking a pause, and his models with him, he  questions the way we look at things, the way we look at life.

Source: Philippe Noisette 

En savoir plus:


Artistic direction / Conception : Mathilde Monnier, Dominique Figarella

Choreography : Mathilde Monnier

Interpretation : Yoann Demichelis, Julien Gallée-Ferré, Thiago Granato, I-fang Lin

Set design : Dominique Figarella, Annie Tolleter

Lights : Éric Wurtz

Costumes : Laurence Alquier

Sound : Olivier Renouf

Production / Coproduction of the choreographic work : festival montpellier danse 2010 / centre pompidou - les spectacles vivants / festival d'automne - paris / künstlerhaus mousonturm frankfurt et tanzlabor_21 / centre chorégraphique national de montpellier languedoc-roussillon œuvre de Dominique Figarella réalisée dans le cadre de la commande publique du ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (direction générale de la création artistique/direction régionale des affaires culturelles du languedoc-roussillon)

Production / Coproduction of the video work : Centre chorégraphique national de montpellier languedoc-roussillon

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