In Performance: Mathilde Monnier & Dominique Figarella’s Soapéra (France)

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soapéra
Mathilde Monnier & Dominique Figarella

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.

© Marc Coudrais

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.

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

“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.” – m. monnier

Links:
http://www.mathildemonnier.com/?en
Dominique Figarella

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