Life together, User Manual
‘Hybridation’ comes after a previous performance called ‘Transfiguration’ With Hybridation, alongside Mireia Izquierdo, we have now the presence of an « Other » where her body can become a continuity of my own body. Like light and shadow in a painting, our two bodies should be mutually reinforcing their presence to themselves. The improvisation of two people in Hybridation makes it more erotic, more absurd and it can even border on the humorous.
On stage, Mireia and I will be in this mental and physical position. We will be blind, but our skin will be naked and the clay will be a way to increase our sense of touch. We arrive on stage dressed, we come from an educated society, with the appropriate dress and behavioral code. All is code, and the code involves the repetition of the same: the same image and the same behavior. Here the only code is try to know thyself and that means trying to know each other. Our two bodies intertwined are the only solution, forming a theatrical presentation. Eventually, we become more disfigured with clay, more naked and more connected as one body rather than as how we begin as two. So the sense of touch puts in question our presence where I sense my own presence as i listen to the presence of the other. The question of the presence will be increased in this idea of theatrical improvisation, and gives life to the puppets that the clay makes us become. This idea to be like a puppet is also interesting because it is a good metaphor about our life. As soon as the skin disappears under the clay, immediately our body literally switches into a ghostly world and becomes something between a sculpture, a puppet, a kind of spirit.
Antonin Artaud says ‘I’m still not sure of the limits at which the body of the human self can stop’. With the knowledge of our biological body, we know that all is possible as soon as we understand the morphogenesis. With the clay, I can quickly give my face a dog’s mouth. I can pile lots of clay on my face, then ‘open’ it up and I can also instantly erase all features from it with the sweep of my hand. Of course Artaud speaks about inner transformation, but we believe that something like that is really felt when we are on stage, covered with the clay, and blinded by it. Here all the elements are gathered to bring us in a state very near to a trance. I think that all honest performers have a goal like that. Art brings us in a more deep feeling of life, and having us exploring this on stage will give the audience a unique experience.
After a lot of years of exploring disfigurement through my painting and sculpture, the clay is a means to continue this research but using the body as an output medium. As I deform myself with the clay and the paints I immediately enter into a dance. Are not the movements of a painter like the movements of a dancer? I feel that « the arrival » in a painting or on a stage for dancing are the same state of mind and body. It is always a projection of my body becoming another imaginary body, like a painting or a puppet.
I have developed a hybrid practice for 20 years that integrates painting, photography, sculpture and performance. I have always been flabbergasted in seeing to what degree people think it’s normal, or even trite, to be alive. This statement echoes in my paintings and sculptures which explore the process of disfigurement in my practice where I explore the strangeness of the body as a machine. After a few years of investigating this I discovered my practice (Transfiguration) with the use of clay to transform my own body. At first, Transfiguration was the story of a failure; the inability of a painter-sculptor to give life to his work. In a desperate gesture, I went under the paint and the clay to become a living sculpture, a living canvas. The painter within me became a dancer. The first time I discovered the result of this makeup was a great shock; How was it possible that this work, done while blinded by the clay, could give such a powerful result? I then realised that without the act of seeing the acts of judging and hesitating disappear, making way for instinct and continuation instead, like a dog who feels with its sense of smell. Everywhere in our society and in art we are under all pressures of value; As the painter paints s/he constantly takes a few steps back and asks themselves: is it good or not? Most of the time, the argument of authority prevails and appears as conformist and we fall down in mimesis of reality and in the Classical artistic environment. And so, during this hybridised practice as a painter-sculptor-performer, I do not see anything, I just have to continue, to try again and again with feeling and with presence in my body. Nobody illustrates better this state of mind than Beckett in the first sentences of ‘The Unnameable’: « Where : Now, when: Now, who: Now. »