TRIBUTE TO PINA BAUSCH’S DANCE INSURRECTION
Valentino F/W 2023-24
photography by Andrea Spotorno
with Marie-Agnès Gillot and Charlotte Dauphin
Shot at POUSH in Aubervilliers, france, a center for exhibitions, performances, and artist residencies. POUSH has welcomed over 250 artists, hosting programs,
exhibitions, and events with local roots and international impact. This alternative space, located just outside paris, aims to open the city to the suburbs
and influence the French artistic scene.
Marie-Therese Haustein, style
Jacob Kajrup at M+A group, hair
Satoko Watanabe at Artlist, make-up
Eleonora Gustapane and Robin Jeant, photographer’s assistants
Brittany Lovoi, stylist’s assistant
All clothes from the Valentino Black Tie collection
INTERVIEW WITH MARIE AGNÈS GILLOT AND CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN
by OLIVIER ZAHM
OLIVIER ZAHM — How did you both meet?
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — I really
wanted to make a film about dance, so my coproducer Rosalie Mann and I contacted my favorite prima ballerina. I was lucky that she was seduced by the project and immediately accepted.
OLIVIER ZAHM — What does the world of dance mean to you, Charlotte? A bubble outside the world or a reflection of the world?
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — I started
out as a dancer. Then dance left me. It was a great loss for me to have to leave this world. Dance is another way of expressing the world — experimental, musical, corporeal, and enigmatic.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Long before painting, cinema, and other art forms, dance was perhaps one of the first human art forms.
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — It’s the art of the body: the body as gesture, as rhythm, as sign.
OLIVIER ZAHM — So, it’s an “original” form of humanity. Even if animals also dance, during courting rituals.
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — Yes, you’re right. Dance is the first art form. It’s undoubtedly a revolution at the very beginning of humanity. For man, it was probably also a defense system: a form of gathering to avoid being eaten by animals, to frighten them away with the movement of the group and the noise made together. When you dance, you gather together and you can ward off danger or conjure it.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN – Everything is dance. Everything is movement and gesture. With everyday life becoming increasingly immaterial, saturated with signs and screens, images, and information, dance is, for me, the first form of emotion: that which passes through the body. In fact, it was Pina Bausch, the choreographer, who brought us together here, who introduced everyday gestures into dance: walking, loving, eating, and drinking.
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — It’s a return to the roots of humanity.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — It’s a form of expression close to the essential.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Dance as a “revolutionary” form is perhaps the sensation and expression of a primal relationship with the world, with things, animals, bodies, and vital energy. And with others, because we dance with others or for others.
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — Yes, the choreographies I create have something of what you’re describing. I invite my dancers to walk in the manner of Pina Bausch’s pieces. I teach them to open their faces, to play a character. It’s a direct state of grace. Last week, I did a dance for the artist Olivier Mosset at a completely grunge gathering of artists. He painted my shoe tips blue because we were doing a piece on Mondrian. People danced! These days, I go into direct, physical contact with the public. I can’t stay away.
OLIVIER ZAHM — You’re no longer the Paris Opera’s prima ballerina standing alone in the middle of a gigantic stage.
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — No more. There’s no more orchestra pit between me and the audience. There’s a euphoric effect of being in physical contact, of the sensation of dancing with others.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Your film starts with a red dress.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — I saw Marie-Agnès’s last performance at the Paris Opera, which was Orphée et Eurydice, Pina Bausch’s opera dance, with that famous red dress, which is in the film. It’s your favorite dress, isn’t it, Marie-Agnès?
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — Charlotte asked me to wear it again because I hadn’t worn it since. It was a great idea. It’s very graphic, yet fluid and dramatic.
OLIVIER ZAHM — What’s the story behind that dress? Is it a revolutionary red dress?
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT— It’s Orpheus and Eurydice’s dress, designed not by Valentino, as in our fashion series, but by Pina Bausch’s costume designer, Marion Cito. She first worked as a dancer and assistant to Pina Bausch. From 1980, she was in charge of costume design at the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. She made all the dresses for Pina Bausch’s pieces — always loose-fitting, but at the same time very feminine dresses that are, I think, timeless.
OLIVIER ZAHM — And did you ever get to dance with Pina Bausch, Marie-Agnès?
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — Yes, I even lived with Pina Bausch. She took a liking to me and would take me out of the opera to see things I couldn’t possibly imagine… I had the impression she was trying to educate me. For example, she took me to see a piano concert with dildos.
OLIVIER ZAHM — And what does she embody for you? For me, she had this incredible sense of freedom, an artist who transcends dance. Her works live in between dance, theater, art, and performance.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — She even invented a universal language that, I think, influences dance today. There was both formal and fundamental research in her work. It was absolute freedom, the relationship between men and women. She really invented. She borrowed from every language, every art form. Tackled every theme, right down to cannibalism. At the same time, she was totally of her time. That’s what
I think being an artist is all about. In other words, you can’t be too formal; you have to reflect the times in which you live. And her work helps us to approach our times, which are made up of all the changes you mentioned, Olivier, without fear, because we’re almost at war with all these changes. They’re coming at us from all directions, from everywhere. And it’s violent. I think that in Bausch’s time, the conflict came from within: how to free oneself, without falling into violence or madness. Today, the conflict comes from the outside.
OLIVIER ZAHM — There’s a difference in our time. We’re not as far removed from the ’70s and ’80s, when she emerged. But in that period, there was still hope in her dance, despite the violence and conflicts in relationships. Can we still convey hope today?
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — I think
there was just grace. Because Pina was grace and nothing else. She was a creator of grace, tackling every possible theme. That’s the hope of dance: to produce a form of grace that’s relevant today. Even if that touches on violence, too.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — And it was profoundly human. Today, I think it’s difficult not to lose that humanity in a virtual world.
OLIVIER ZAHM — In a virtual world and in a disgusting world, where we have our feet in oil, pollution, plastic, and carbon… In the end, Pina Bausch’s dance, and dance in general, is an impossible attempt at elevation: you always see the dancers jumping, as if they’re trying to reach an inaccessible sky, an elsewhere, a higher dimension.
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — Yes, but they keep falling back. And regain momentum.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — Yes, that’s gravity. Rather existential gravity.
OLIVIER ZAHM — There’s a lot happening in dance today. I have the impression that the scene is alive again.
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — It’s because dance has become so mixed. Dance borrows from everyone and everywhere. And there are a lot more self-taught dancers who have no rules, no prejudices.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Let’s talk about your film, which is a true collaboration.
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — I was going to start by saying that it’s a tribute to Pina Bausch, for my part.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — In fact, I had this desire to film dance, but not as dance. More like a dramaturgy, without there being any spoken language. And I’m also very interested in Pina’s work because, for me, she’s the queen of deconstruction. So, I chose an object, one of my sculptures, an extremely simple object, a kind of totem pole, which is a recurring theme in my personal work, and I asked Marie-Agnès to dance around this object. And at the outset, we decided that it was a kind of Kubrickian object, a cathartic object, too. In other words, a kind of black box into which you can project almost anything you like. It’s an object for releasing one’s repressed or unconscious emotions. When you look at Pina Bausch’s work, everything always works in a series of small tableaux. We often see the characters clash, almost physically disagreeing in their gestures. One dancer follows one trajectory, and then the other another trajectory, and they end up bumping into each other. Everyone is in their own head, alone in their own world. And I wanted to work around this object as a world in itself, as a projection of the person. Marie-Agnès interprets this person who projects all her emotions around this sculpture, into this object. And frees herself. And let’s not forget Mirwais’s original music!
OLIVIER ZAHM — It’s the central immobile object that makes you dance.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — The unknown object that attracts and repels emotions, something along those lines. And then came the idea of a tribute to Pina. Because Pina Bausch talked about the impossibility of connecting with each other. It’s the prison of the body. It’s what Michel Foucault also talked about — this body of which I’m a prisoner, this body that’s controlled and from which I can’t get out. For me, Pina Bausch was about that: I’m a prisoner of my condition, and I’m trying to get out of it.
OLIVIER ZAHM — That’s it. And we’re prisoners of our knowledge, too: it’s part of the problem. The technical and scientific obsession with getting out of ecological problems, for example, when we should be getting out of the whole model of life.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — Yes, that’s what this totem represents, this mute object around which Marie-Agnès dances. What I always call the blind spot; i.e., we always analyze the situation according to our knowledge. But we can’t see into the blind spot. And that’s the unknown.
OLIVIER ZAHM — And it would be better to approach the climate problem by forgetting for a moment all our knowledge, including the scientific knowledge that leads us to hope for technical solutions. Radically deconstruct this hope to the point of recognizing that we can’t get out of it without getting out of the very model that makes us hope for change.
CHARLOTTE DAUPHIN — You’re right. It’s the human being who’s fighting against forces beyond our control — trying to find a way out, with all these superhuman means, including science. We’re all trying to reduce this blind spot, but we’re not succeeding.
OLIVIER ZAHM — Because that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something about our powerlessness. But is dancing useful?
MARIE-AGNÈS GILLOT — To dance is to enter the unknown.
[Table of contents]
editor’s letterRead the article
by Daniel Pinchbeck
by Paul B. Preciado
cover #1 cindy shermanRead the article
best of the season f/w 23-24
photography by Olivier Zahm
art or the possibility of the impossible
by Alain Badiou
cover #2 milla jovovich in gucci f/w 2023-24
photography by Cameron McCool
evgeny morozovRead the article
cover #3 aylah peterson in prada f/w 2023-24
photography by Reto Schmid
cover #4 john giornoRead the article
photography by Ethan Skaates
mariko mori, the unseen power of energetic fieldsRead the article
cover #5 margaret qualley in chanel f/w 2023-24
photography by Jeremy Everett
de wain valentineRead the article
cover #6 zegna x the elder statesman f/w 2023-24
photography by Olivier Zahm
interview by Oliver Zahm & Aleph Molinari
what climate collapse asks of us
by Bayo Akomolafe
cover #7 gabbriette in guess usa f/w 2023-24
photography by Richard Kern
cover #8 minttu vesala in balenciaga winter 2023
photography by Juergen Teller
cover #9 mariana arias in dior cruise 2024
photography by Olivier Zahm
cover #10 saskia de brauw in fendi f/w 2023-24
photography by Brett Lloyd
cover #11 caroline polachek in givenchy F/W 2023-24
photography by Kira Bunse
cover #12 carsten höllerRead the article
is there an angel in the ecosystem?
by Val Plumwood
anthea hamilton “mash up”Read the article
interview by Aleph Molinari
charles rayRead the article
cover #13 louis vuitton pre-fall 2023
photography by Takashi Homma
interview by Olivier Zahm & Aleph Molinari
hinako, the rubber queen of tokyo
interview by Bobbi Salvör Menuez
cover #14 hari nef
photography by Steven Klein
hour of the wolf
photography by Robi Rodriguez
the idiots revolution
by Byung-Chul Han
cover #15 melvil poupaud in dior men f/w 2023-24
photography by Ola Rindal
cover #16 marie-agnès gillot and charlotte dauphin in valentino f/w 2023-24
photography by Andrea Spotorno
cover #17 loro piana f/w 2023-24
photography by Dario Catellani
cover #18 emmanuelle lucianiRead the article
cover #19 sascha rajasalu in saint laurent f/w 2023-24
photography by Esther Theaker
interview by Daniel Pinchbeck
interview by Daniel Pinchbeck
“what can the body do?” with georgia bryan
photography by Dana Boulos
fashion factionRead the article
cover #20 moncler karakorum f/w 2023-24
photography by Henrik Purienne
find each other
By The Invisible Committee
cover #21 dash snowRead the article