Annie Vigier et Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan) — Scène à l’italienne



Annie Vigier et Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan)
Scène à l’italienne

Past: November 29, 2014 → February 7, 2015

Following our inaugural exhibition in September, Salle Principale is hosting choreographers Annie Vigier and Franck Apertet (les gens d’Uterpan). For the first time they have been represented by an art gallery, they have created an uncompromising work that involves both the viewer and the gallery space.

Whether a sacred space, a dedicated area, a platform or a podium, a stage delimits a space in relation to which spectators are arranged, or arrange themselves. In ancient Greece, this type of space removed from everyday use took the form of a circle at the foot of a natural hollow amphitheatre. In ancient Rome it was a raised stone rectangle in front of a hemicycle; in the Middle Ages it took the form of a flat surface laid on trestles in the centre of a public square; in the Renaissance, it became a sloping wooden structure set against the wall of a galleried courtyard. In the Neo-Classical period, this type of spatial arrangement became part of what is known as the « Proscenium Arch » theatre (in French, théâtre à l’italienne or Italian-style theatre), which we still use today and which divides a single space into two separate areas facing (or confronting) each other.

The history of the stage reflects that of the representation of power (conflicts between men and the gods; the public arena represented before the king and his court; an entertainment imposed by the cultural business that involves generating revenues from audiences). The functionality of the theatre itself has gradually tipped the balance of the forces at work (actor vs audience), institutionalising the predominance of the auditorium over the stage, where what happens is assessed and applauded or rejected by a more or less well-behaved, educated and commercially profitable audience.

Conceived as an optical device, a theatre has to allow the audience to focus its attention on the stage which, following rules of perspective elaborated in the fifteenth century, is raked to allow the viewer’s eye to penetrate further, using an illusion of depth to enhance his or her aesthetic experience. The “proscenium arch” theatre organises and ranks the protagonists of the play and their actions (in the auditorium, a similar hierarchy exists, initially organised around the place where the king would sit and later determined by the price of the seats, which are more expensive the closer they are to the stage). Inside this optical device, dancers, singers and actors literally deliver their performances “downwards” towards the audience. It is well known that this poses additional technical problems to dancers when they are required to perform on such a stage (at the Paris Opera Palais Garnier, for example, the stage has a 5 % rake).

The concept we have developed for the first time les gens d’Uterpan have been represented by a gallery uses the idea of a gallery as a society venue or “artistic stage”: a place where people go to be seen. The piece presented at Salle Principale is neither a performance nor a stage set; it is a way of “staging” the gallery to provide a physical experience to the people who enter, whilst exhibiting its content as well as its social, artistic, commercial and logistic activity to the street outside.

Franck Apertet
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75019 Paris

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