"With Isadora Duncan, Jérôme Bel drew up for the first time the danced portrait of a choreographer, after having concentrated exclusively on the life of the dancers. For this new creation, which he describes as "auto-bio-choreo-graphic", he lends himself to his own exercise and delivers his personal account of a life of dance.
The choreographer's performance address, alone on stage, responds to the broadcasting of filmed archives and reactivates the memory of gestures, scores, and biographical facts that the discourse comes to put in correspondence. The eponymous project of a founding piece of his repertoire, Jérôme Bel takes the form of a genealogy of the driving forces of his work, where the personal is linked to the artistic and political. Jérôme Bel tells his story for the first time, sharing his doubts, his commitments, his failures as well as his infatuations. Combining narrative and meaning, the piece articulates fragments of his life, his career and his intellectual project to reveal their common structures."
Text by Florian Gaité for the Festival d'Automne à Paris, 2021
In his first pieces, Jérôme Bel applied structuralist operations to dance in order to isolate the primary elements of the theatrical spectacle.
His interest then shifts from dance as a stage practice to the question of the performer as a particular individual. The series of portraits of dancers (Véronique Doisneau, Cédric Andrieux, Xiao Ke...) approaches dance through the story of those who make it, puts forward the word in a choreographic show and imposes the question of singularity on stage.
By resorting to the biographical, Jérôme Bel politicizes his interrogations, attentive to the crisis of the subject in contemporary society and the modalities of its representation on stage. Offering the stage to non-traditional performers (amateurs, motor and mental handicapped people, children...), he favors the community of differences to the formatted group, the desire to dance to the choreography, to implement the means of an emancipation through art.
Since 2019, for ecological reasons, Jérôme Bel and his company no longer use airplanes for their travels and it is with this new paradigm that his latest works have been created and produced.
Two of his films, Véronique Doisneau and Shirtologie, are in the collections of the Musée National d'Art Moderne-Centre Pompidou. In 2005, Jérôme Bel received a Bessie Award for the performances of The show must go on in New York. In 2008 he was awarded the Routes Princess Margriet Prize for Cultural Diversity (European Cultural Foundation) for the show Pichet Klunchun and myself.
Disabled Theater receives the Swiss Dance Prize "current dance creation" in 2013.
In 2021, Jérôme Bel and Wu-Kang Chen received the Taishin Performing Arts Award for the show Danses pour Wu-Kang Chen.
Penser le Présent is produced with the support of Société Générale.
Free admission subject to availability of seats
Photo credit: Herman Sorgeloos