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Abysse (New Settings #4)

A many-faceted aquarium

Why capture the depths of the ocean abyss in an aquarium? What is this strange creature, moving inside? How does it communicate with the spectator? Abysse offers answers to the mystery, in the form of questions. The right questions… 

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Abysse (New Settings #4)
© Clédat & Petitpierre

For the first time, an installation/performance brings its distinctive quality to New Settings. In the foyer of the Théâtre de la Cité internationale, a man-sized aquarium provides the overture to productions for the 2014 season. Inside, two visual artists take a sculptural approach to the body and movement, showcasing a finely crafted performance by a dancer-choreographer.      

Abysse takes a leap into the deep end of the relationship between the performance and visual arts, with a limpid prologue to this year’s New Settings programme. Clédat & Petitpierre (respectively, Yvan the rigorous and Coco, the exuberant half of the duo) cultivate the art of sculpture and performance combined. Their sculptures are fantastical forms in wood, PVC, metal and tulle, activated and brought to life by the performers taking up residence inside. For Abysse, the performer is Sylvain Prunenec, a graduate of the Studio Bagouet in Clermont-Ferrand, and the author of the 2013 production Précis de camouflage. Abysse’s tentacular undersea creature was created especially for him, captured here in an improbable, tubular setting that magnifies his slightest movement, forcing the dancer to break with the familiar coordinates of his medium — the relationship to the floor, balance, touch, sight — while at the same time incorporating subtle references to the work of French choreographer Dominique Bagouet, and Nijinsky, to the delight of dance aficionados.            

What place for theatricality in this close encounter between dance and the sculptural object? The relationship to the audience? Emotion? Abysse is a fusional joust between two artistic languages, shedding new light on the essence of New Settings and the unfathomable potential of the creative gesture.

>> Discover "Abysse" on video

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Artists: Yvan Clédat et Coco Petitpierre

Dancer: Sylvain Prunenec

Production: Lebeau & associés, with the support of the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès New Settings program, coproduction Association du 48