The Un­con­so­led Alain Buffard

Art Press - - CENTRE POMPIDOU - Trans­la­tion, L-S Tor­goff

Four years af­ter his death, PI:ES, the com­pa­ny set up by cho­reo­gra­pher Alain Buffard (1960-2013), is still ac­tive. Ch­ris­tophe Ives, Mat­thieu Doze and Fan­ny de Chaillé are kee­ping the me­mo­ry of his pieces crea­ti­ve­ly alive. They are now re­pri­sing and trans­for­ming les In­con­so­lés (2005).

Alain Buffard ‘s play Les In­con­so­lés was first sta­ged in 2005. It was per­for­med by three men of dif­ferent ages—Ch­ris­tophe Ives, Mat­thieu Doze and Alain Buffard him­self—wea­ring masks that co­ve­red their faces. The play be­gins in dark­ness as Goethe’s poem “The Elf-King” is read in Ger­man. Not ano­ther word is spo­ken un­til the end when the poem serves as an epi­logue, this time sung (in the Schu­bert set­ting) by Geor­gette Dee. We see a na­ked bo­dy stret­ched out on its bel­ly stage right, alone, and stage left a noose awai­ting the next han­ging. Meanw­hile, the three adults have been playing chil­dren’s games. Meanw­hile, in 2013, Buffard died. His thea­ter com­pa­ny, PI:ES, lives on. No new plays, strict­ly spea­king, but Fan­ny de Chaillé, his of­fi­cial heir, Doze and Ives keep the me­mo­ry of his plays alive and bear wit­ness while they’re still with us. Se­ve­ral plays are being re­vi­ved for a re­tros­pec­tive ini­tia­ted by the Centre Na­tio­nal de la Danse this fall, among them Les In­con­so­lés at the Centre Pom­pi­dou. It is a play of re­fe­rence for ma­ny people be­cause of what it conveys, what it teaches us about the work of its au­thor(s) and what it re­veals about con­tem­po­ra­ry dance in France du­ring the ear­ly 2000s. RECONSTRUCTING THE SUBSTRATUM Les In­con­so­lés is una­ba­shed­ly a hard case. Three men per­form a “play” about pe­do­phi­lia, in­cest and ho­mo­sexua­li­ty, where se­ve­ral sto­ries are su­per­im­po­sed and fit to­ge­ther like pieces of a puzzle to pro­duce nar­ra­tive cons­truc­tions. The ori­gi­nal idea, Doze re­calls, was to do an adap­ta­tion of James Pur­dy’s Nar­row Rooms, a novel about the re­la­tion­ship bet­ween two bro­thers, but the book’s images were much too strong and ly­ri­cal. And yet, when wat­ching the fi­nal scene, it’s clear that Pur­dy’s novel im­pre­gna­ted the nar­ra­tive. To un­ders­tand what this trans­mis­sion means, we have to un­ders­tand what Les In­con­so­lés consti­tutes. Beyond its li­te­ra­ry re­fe­rences, the play is a “stag­nant soup of our most pri­vate thoughts,” Doze ex­plains. “Alain del­ved dee­ply in­to other people’s most pri­vate re­cesses; his work is char­ged with an in­cre­dible sub­cons­cious po­wer.” Buffard was ve­ry in­fluen­ced by psy­cho­ana­ly­sis. Se­ve­ral pro­jec­tions, li­te­ral­ly and in Freu­dian terms, take place in Les In­con­so­lés through the in­ter­play of sha­dows on a can­vas. A man eats ano­ther, lets him­self be co­ve­red up… How can this play be trans­mit­ted wi­thout Alain? At one time it was agreed that Doze and Ives would dance it again, but not play the same roles. That would have re­qui­red fin­ding a third dan­cer who could have reor­ga­ni­zed the cas­ting, but the di­se­qui­li­brium would have been ob­vious. The dan­cers in this new pro­duc­tion, Bryan Camp­bell, Mark Lo­ri­mer and Mi­guel Pe­rei­ra, ne­ver met Buffard, which means they will weave to­ge­ther so­me­thing new. What in­ter­ests Doze, who wor­ked with Buffard for eigh­teen years, is not re­vi­si­ting the ori­gi­nal cho­reo­gra­phy but the re­cons­truc­tion of its substratum, which was ba­sed, from the start, on each man’s most pri­vate re­cesses. Du­ring the ini­tial re­hear­sals in De­cem­ber, the three dan­cers did not ac­tual­ly per­form the piece but ra­ther dan­ced around it, so to speak, so that an en­coun­ter bet­ween them and with the piece could emerge. “We star­ted with exer­cises, long im­pro­vi­sa­tions around ani­mals, un­dres­sing and so on. We were real­ly sear­ching,” Camp­bell re­counts. The exer­cises ap­proa­ched the forms of the piece wi­thout ever ta­king them up di­rect­ly. No pla­gia­rism, no re­pro­duc­tion. Just how much does the cho­reo­gra­phy of a bo­dy de­ter­mine a form? “Just how much are these things our things, or are they, ul­ti­ma­te­ly, forms?”(1) Af­ter tho­rough­ly re­vi­si­ting the ar­chi­val vi­deos, Doze wor­ked with Ives and Fan­ny de Chaillé on the me­thod to adopt. Du­ring re­si­dence work ses­sions, Mat­thieu and Ch­ris­tophe went over their me­mo­ries and emo­tio­nal states while Fan­ny took notes. They came up with a for­mal script to struc­ture the raw ma­te­rial pro­du­ced by bo­dies, but this form could be chan­ged by the new substratum that would emerge. “There are times when the forms are less im­por­tant than what un­der­lies them.” How much will things change? This is like the pro­blem of trans­la­tion, which be­trays as well as res­pects. “I don’t know what’s going to hap­pen.” TRANS­MIS­SION To connect with so­me­thing is not to re­make it. The pro­ble­ma­tics of re­vi­vals and transmissions have al­rea­dy led to ma­ny days of re­flec­tion and are re­la­ted to the work of the Knust Quar­tet(2) (in which Alain Buffard was a per­for­mer) and the Car­nets Ba­gouet (3) (of which Doze, one of Ba­gouet’s great dan­cers, was a co­foun­der). “Un­like Ba­gouet, who sel­dom spoke, I talk a lot. I don’t im­pose any li­mits on my­self in spea­king about that per­so­nal di­men­sion, be­cause that’s what gives rise to the forms. At what point does one’s own sto­ry be­come the dri­ving force for so­me­thing big­ger?” The dance cri­tic Gé­rard Mayen has re­mar­ked on the Ba­goue­tian as­pect of Les In­con­so­lés, both be­cause the per­for­mer be­comes a cha­rac­ter, im­plying a sort of “au­to-fic­tion” in­so­far as he plays the part of him­self, and be­cause there is no in­trigue re­gar­ding the cha­rac­ters or thea­tri­cal dra­ma. This ana­ly­sis of what he calls a blind spot goes against the image of an as­so­cia­tion with the U.S. that Buffard him­self crea­ted through his work with Yvonne Rai­ner and his film with An­na Hal­prin, My Lunch with An­na (2005). The ar­tist and re­sear­cher Pau­line Le Boul­ba, who was close to Buffard ar­tis­ti­cal­ly and is doing her own per­for­mance about his Dis­po­si­tif 3.1 (2001) and My Lunch with An­na,( 4) sees his rap­pro­che­ment with Hal­prin as a kind of re­dress to make up for the vio­lence in his other works in which the re­la­tions of do­mi­na­tors/do­mi­na­ted are of­ten mar­kers. The co­ve­red faces in Les In­con­so­lés re­call those hid­den un­der the blond curls of a wig in Dis­po­si­tifs 3.1. Trios reap­pear in piece af­ter piece: three men, three wo­men, two men and a wo­man in IN­time/EX­time-MORE ET EN­CORE (1999). Le Boul­ba argues that these hid­den faces and re­cur­ring trios are concre­ti­za­tions of the concept of mul­tiples and va­ria­tions that was a constant theme in Buffard’s work, which, like the work of trans­mis­sion it­self, is freigh­ted with in­vi­sible ite­ra­tions. 1) Un­less other­wise in­di­ca­ted by the au­thor, the fol­lo­wing phrases in quo­ta­tion marks are from te­le­phone conver­sa­tions with Mat­thieu Doze. (2) Foun­ded in 1993 by four dan­cers (Do­mi­nique Brun, Anne Col­lod, Si­mon Hec­quet and Ch­ris­tophe Wa­ve­let), the Al­brecht Knust Quar­tet has par­ti­ci­pa­ted in the re­crea­tion of his­to­ric dances such as Ni­jins­ki’s Après-mi­di d’un faune. (3) Es­ta­bli­shed in 1993 fol­lo­wing the death of the cho­reo­gra­pher Do­mi­nique Ba­gouet, the mis­sion of

Les Car­nets Ba­gouet is to co­or­di­nate and car­ry out ini­tia­tives in the do­main of the trans­mis­sion of the dance re­per­to­ry. (4) Pau­line Le Boul­ba was in­vi­ted by the Centre Na­tio­nal de la Danse to present La Langue bri­sée,( 3) a piece on the re­cep­tion of these two pieces.

Char­lotte Im­bault is an art cri­tic. Alain Buffard Né en 1960 à Mo­rez et mort en 2013 aux Rousses. 1998 Good boy 2001 Dis­po­si­tifs 3.1 2001 Good for… 2003 Mau­vais genre 2012 Ba­ron Sa­me­di (New Set­tings #2)

Newspapers in French

Newspapers from France

© PressReader. All rights reserved.