Yoann Bourgeois Art Company _ The Unreachable Suspension Point

Yoann Bourgeois about his work:

A Writing Laboratory
Since I had just reached that age when one can, in a simplified manner and whatever the course of events, anticipate the main developments of a future life and talk about days to come with an air of past, I began developing a programme. The age by itself was not an objective threshold, or a temporal reality – it was simply the awareness of something. However many days remained ahead even relying on the most optimistic predictions – there would be too few.

My plan was to disarm time. Yes, of course, that would be impossible in itself. But there existed different methods to attempt. It would be simple and definitive. A single sentence would be enough: “attempts to approach a point of suspension”.

Something like the hopes for a certain piece, with its specific props (chairs, stairs, floors), its variations and its distinct set of physical forces (gravity, balance, inertia). Always pushing to approach an elusive present. And a conviction that a work of art can attain its true coherence with time.

So, it’s a constantly evolving process, shared over the long term, with a dedicated team.

The Act…
There’s a very specific format, which we believed had been left behind, something claimed only by the so-called “traditional” circus-and abandoned by what we call the “new” circus, would it be seen as outmoded? I decided to turn once again to this approach, with its unique organisation and signature codes.

A number in a circus is the perfect short form. It’s often mentioned that it lasts about eight minute – but, really, that doesn’t mean anything. That number is just a condensation, basically a way of maximally reducing a form that has reached its greatest intensity, just as in cooking when we decoct a substance by boiling it down to its concentrated minimum.

There is, at the end of this process of simplification by extraction, a dream of an absolute: a number that must stand on its own. Without cultural scaffolding, in all different contexts. A number needs to be able to last. Despite the life that passes through bodies, with the inevitable arrival of old age, a number will exist throughout an entire lifetime. A successful number must be able to work everywhere, at any the time.

Nevertheless, a number can never claim a meaning, with a capital “M”. A number doesn’t have that much arrogance. After all, no number is above the rest, not even number 1. A number will never forget the multiplicity of sets. It says nothing more than what it says, without denying the other numbers that come before or after it. A number has humility. Meaning is simply in and through a number, and just by that fact alone, a number manages to attain the universal.


Balls / Approach 1

For this three-ball dance, the art of juggling helps to simplify and clarify the pathway of the second edition of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Art of The Fugue (Die Kunst der Fuge). Within this minimal performance, all is continually constructed and deconstructed around the point of suspension – that precise moment that exists between the end of an upward trajectory and the beginning of a descent.

conception, direction, set design: Yoann Bourgeois
performance: Yoann Bourgeois
music:Johann Sebastian Bach – “Die Kunst der Fuge” BWV 1080 (Contrapunctus II)


Spinning chair / Approach 14

To resist the power of a centrifugal force, the body has no alternative but to attempt to regain its balance by leaning in. Playing upon this paradox, we choreographed this dance, which is as fascinating as it is essential.

conception, direction, set design:Yoann Bourgeois assisted by Marie Bourgeois
performance: Marie Bourgeois
music:Franz Schubert – “4 Impromptus” op. 90 Ges-dur Allegretto, D 899
design and construction:David Hanse, Nicolas Picot (C3 Sud Est) & Hervé Flandrin


Balanced Plateau / Approach 9

Searching for balance reflects a specific relationship where the opposing forces are equal. But, in reality, different sides are constantly in motion and rarely equalised.
The plateau on which a man and a woman evolve is supported upon a central point. It is extremely sensitive – so, the slightest movement made by one side of this platform has an immediate impact upon the other. This environment serves as a metaphorical amplification of the power dynamics that we can observe at the heart of all relationships.

conception, direction, set design:Yoann Bourgeois
performance:Yoann Bourgeois & Marie Bourgeois
music: Franz Schubert – Piano Sonata no 20 A-Mayor, D 959: II Andantino
design and construction:David Hanse, Nicolas Picot (C3 Sud Est) & Christophe Rayaume

Chairs-tables / Approach 3

A table offers a myriad of theatrical possibilities, as each of the two characters take turns becoming the object of the other, as their dexterity and virtuosity of gestures creates sparkling signs.

conception, direction, set design: Yoann Bourgeois assisted by Marie Fonte during the creation of the show
performance: Yoann Bourgeois & Marie Bourgeois
music: Johann Sebastian Bach – Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: var. 1, a 1 Clav.


Approach 7. Turntable / Yoann & Marie / Wild Is the Wind

Centrifugal force pushes bodies apart from each other.
The plateau on which the man and the woman evolve spins very quickly. It spins too fast. To resist the force that aims to split them apart, they cling to each other.

conception, direction, set design: Yoann Bourgeois
performance: Yoann Bourgeois & Marie Bourgeois
technical manager: Nicolas Anastassiou
music: “Wild Is the Wind” by Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington, interpreted by Nina Simone
design and construction: David Hanse, Nicolas Picot (C3 Sud Est) & Hervé Flandrin
production: Yoann Bourgeois Art Company

Yoann Bourgeois Art Company is financed by the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (DRAC) Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes / Ministry of Culture and Communication of France.


Stairs / Approach 17

In Approach 17, Yoann Bourgeois proposes a simplified take on existential trajectories, alternating between elevations and descents, with a staircase leading nowhere. Temporal chronology is thwarted with plays on the theme of reversibility.
Atop an invisible partition, one character manages to elude the void, playing with the laws of gravity and weightlessness in order to reach a state of freedom, situated between balance and imbalance.
This visual poem centres on a moving, vertiginous procession towards the point of suspension-that precise, short-lived moment, when a body has progressed to its highest possible point and the inevitable fall has yet to commence.

conception, direction, set design: Yoann Bourgeois
performance:Yoann Bourgeois
music: Ludwig van Beethoven – “Moonlight Sonata” no 14 cis-minor op. 27 no 2
live piano accompaniment: Tomasz Bielski
technical director:Nicolas Anastassiou