“The whole tradition of the mask in the world is based on rigid masks, here it is a singularity because we will work on the transformation of the mask and you will be your own mask creator. This performance is like a ritual that optimizes conditions to travel in yourself. You will travel blind by transforming your face with the earth, without judgment on what is happening outside on my face and the way it will deform, only one thing will be important: to feel and see the images that will be born in yourself and the journey that this will initiate. A mask is an amplifier of presence because it stimulates your imagination and here it would be very strong because you will be your own creator of masks. By working with others, you continue your inner trip, but in addition to clay, there is the body of others here which will stimulate several images in your conscious.” Olivier de Sagazan
To be covered with clay is an initiatory act that can be found in all primitive cultures. According to them, clay has a liberating and creative power. A body covered with clay enters into the world of the spirits, between the sculpture and the ghost: it is a transfigured body, in dialogue with the “beyond”. For us, this “beyond” is the depth of the performer’s soul. To cover oneself with clay is also paradoxically to wash oneself from an artificial and cultural world to finally make contact with one’s interiority. This blind work will amplify our sense of touch and proprioception. In the development of touch, time passes slowly and the psyche of the performer enters into a form of singularity. Aristote stated that touch is the foundation of the soul. It is remarkable for someone to achieve liberation from individuality, surpass these boundaries of selfhood and identity, and embrace the possibilities of being. The disfigurement in this performance is a trigger for this process of appreciating life itself.
Step one : work alone
Discovery of the clay and its ductility, testing which is ideal for sculpting. Exploration of clay on the face: clay becoming your own flesh, a mediation to feel and think your face, i.e. your identity. A form of meditation to return to oneself. The link question: mask and presence. Reflections on the function of the mask and how it affects our personality. The clay mask is special because it is shifting, a new concept in art: the mask not for hiding but for revealing oneself and laying feeling bare. The mask becomes living. Everyone makes a “Transfiguration” alone in front of the others and tries to start from his/her own feelings and kinesthesis in order to explore and discover their inner man. The people in the group compare the different approaches for each individual and what they reveal of our personalities. Throughout, we will carefully consider how to move, how to dance with clay, how the clay and this blind work increase our sensation of touch and sense of feeling, our self-presence.
Step two : work as a couple
The same work but with one other: Transfiguration become Hybridation.
Step three : work as a group
Everyone covers someone else’s face and body, while blind, a great moment of sensuality. Work on contact, shyness, and modesty, at first dressed and then naked. The other’s body becomes a continuity of one’s own, the group becomes one body.
15 students maximum in art or dance studies.
#BiennaleDanza2021 | Day By Day 7— La Biennale di Venezia (@la_Biennale) July 30, 2021
The days go by quickly, between the workshop of Olivier de @sagazan and that of @HerveKoubi. We have just the time to watch the sun as it falls into the Arsenale basin, before entering the Teatro alle Tese for #JosefNadj's show. pic.twitter.com/ujJ5yuqjkd