La Maison du sourd
Maison du sourd (La)
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
Catherine Diverrès has said, “Conscience, our relationship with others, this is what creates time”, ever since her first choreographic creation. She is a sort of strange meteor, appearing in the landscape of contemporary dance in the mid-80’s. She stood out almost immediately in her rejection of the tenets of post-modern American dance and the classically-based vocabularies trending at that time. She trained at the Mudra School in Brussels under the direction of Maurice Béjart, and studied the techniques of José Limón, Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais before joining the company of Dominique Bagouet in Montpellier, then deciding to set out on her own choreographic journey.
Her first work was an iconic duo, Instance, with Bernardo Montet, based upon a study trip she took to Japan in 1983, during which she worked with one of the great masters of butoh, Kazuo Ohno. This marked the beginning of the Studio DM. Ten years later she was appointed director of the National Choreographic Center in Rennes, which she directed until 2008.
Over the years, Catherine Diverrès has created over thirty pieces, created her own dance language, an extreme and powerful dance, resonating with the great changes in life, entering into dialogues with the poets: Rilke, Pasolini and Holderlin, reflecting alongside the philosophers Wladimir Jankelevich and Jean-Luc Nancy, focusing also on the transmission of movement and repertoire in Echos, Stances and Solides and destabilising her own dancing with the help of the plastician Anish Kapoor in L’ombre du ciel.
Beginning in 2000, she began adapting her own style of dance by conceiving other structures for her creations: she improvised with the music in Blowin, developed projects based on experiences abroad, in Sicily for Cantieri, and with Spanish artists in La maison du sourd. Exploring the quality of stage presence, gravity, hallucinated images, suspensions, falls and flight — the choreographer began using her own dance as a means of revealing, revelation, unmasking, for example in Encor, in which movements and historical periods are presented. Diverrès works with the body to explore the important social and aesthetic changes of today, or to examine memory, the way she did in her recent solo in homage to Kazuo Ohno, O Sensei.
And now the cycle is repeating, opening on a new period of creation with the founding of Diverrès’ new company, Association d’Octobre, and the implantation of the company in the city of Vannes in Brittany. Continuing on her chosen path of creation and transmission, the choreographer and her dancers have taken on a legendary figure, Penthesilea, the queen of the Amazons, in Penthésilée(s). In returning to group and collective work, this new work is indeed another step forward in the choreographer’s continuing artistic journey.
Source: Irène Filiberti, website of the company Catherine Diverrès
More information: compagnie-catherine-diverres.com
Maison du sourd (La)
Choreography : Catherine Diverrès
Interpretation : Fabrice Dasse, Julien Fouché, Emilio Urbina, Thierry Micouin, Mónica García, Pilar Andrés Contreras musiciens Seijiro Murayama, percussions ; Jean-Luc Guionnet, ordinateur ; Mattin, ordinateur et voix
Set design : Laurent Peduzzi
Video conception : Thierry Micouin
Lights : Marie-Christine Soma assistée d'Eric Corlay
Costumes : Cidalia da Costa assistée de Claude Gorophal
Other collaborations : Artistes invités Mónica Valenciano, chorégraphe ; Chus Domínguez, vidéaste
Duration : 80 minutes
The BNP Paribas Foundation
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