Centro Cultural de Belem (Lizbona
R.B. Jerome Bel (Paryż)
artistic advice and company development
© Herman Sorgeloos
the solo in 3 parties
total duration 25 min.
In the frame of LET'S DANCE exhibition.
A given language is a social institution, which does not depend on individuals ; it is a normative reserve out of which individuals draw their speech, in other words, it is “ a virtual system which only actualises itself within and through speech ”. Speech is an individual act, “ the actualised expression of the function of language ”, THE LANGUAGE being a generic term which encompasses given languages and speech. It appears most useful to distinguish between two analogical realities within the notion of clothing : the first one is an essentially social and institutional reality, not depending on individuals and operating like a systematic, normative reserve, out of which the individuals draw their own outfits ; we suggest calling this reality THE COSTUME, which in Saussure corresponds to a given language ; and a second individual reality, which is a real act of “ clothing ” by which individuals, in endorsing it, actualise the general institution of the costume ; we suggest calling this second reality CLOTHES, which in Saussure corresponds to speech. Costume and clothes form a generic whole, which we suggest calling from now on CLOTHING.
Roland Barthes in Annales, "Histoire et sociologie du vêtement", July-September 1957
Trained as a choreographer, Jérôme Bel forgets most of dance, as if, in the forgetting, something else might be possible. Working in a language of movement and image that could be described as a kind of delicate, humane minimalism, his interests are located just at the slippery, evocative meeting point between the physical and the philosophical - the body itself and the processes by which live presence is constructed, the processes of language and the relationship of language to objects (animate and inanimate), the process by which narrative (or meaning) is constructed, through the deployment of objects (animate and inanimate) in time and space. (…) The T-shirts second hand - replete with the workaday slogans, logos, icons and pictures of international capitalist culture, much of it outdated ; slogans for products or ideas you don’t remember so well, numbers and dates (festivals, occasions), statistics, jokes, faces, admonishments, warnings, demands.
As playful as it is minimalist, Shirtology is « simply » a matter of deploying the people and the T-shirts in combination and arrangement – structures through time, pictures in space. The work of the piece is that of dressing and appearing – changing clothes, presenting oneself, in T-shirts – the body clothed, always in language, mainly in silence – the fragmented conversation of written slogans on neighbouring T-shirts.
Tim Etchells in Certain fragments Routledge Ed.
Jerome Bel lives in Paris, he works worldwide.
His first piece, a choreography of objects, is entitled nom donné par l'auteur (1994). The second one, Jerome Bel (1995), is based on the identity and the total nudity of the four performers. The third one, Shirtology (1997) presents an actor wearing many shop-bought T-shirts. The last performance (1998), which in quoting several times a solo by the German choreographer Susanne Linke, and also Hamlet or André Agassi, tries to define an ontology of the performance. The piece Xavier Le Roy (2000) was claimed by Jérôme Bel as his own, but was actually made by the choreographer Xavier Le Roy. The show must go on (2001) brings toghether a cast of twenty performers, nineteen pop songs and one DJ. In 2004, he was invited to produce a piece for the Paris Opera ballet : Veronique Doisneau (2004), a theatrical documentary on the work of the dancer Véronique Doisneau, from the ballet corps of that company. Isabel Torres (2005) for the ballet of the Teatro Municipal of Rio de Janeiro is the Brazilian version of the production for the Paris Opera. Pichet Klunchun and myself (2005) is created in Bangkok with the Thai traditional dancer Pichet Klunchun. In 2009, he produces Cédric Andrieux (2009), dancer in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and then at the Lyon Opera Ballet. In 2010, he creates with Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker 3Abschied (2010), a performance based on The song of the Earth by Gustav Malher. In 2012, he produces Disabled Theater (2012), a piece with a Zurich-based company, Theater Hora, consisting of professional actors with learning disabilities. In Cour d'honneur (2013) he stages fourteen spectators at the Cour d'honneur of the Palais des Papes within the Avignon Festival.
The films of his shows are presented in contemporary art biennials and in many museums. Jérôme Bel received a Bessie Award for the performances of The show must go on in New York in 2005. In 2008 Jerome Bel and Pichet Klunchun received the Routes Princess Margriet Award for Cultural Diversity (European Cultural Foundation) for Pichet Klunchun and myself (2005). In 2013, Disabled Theater (2012) was selected for the Theatertreffen in Berlin and won the Swiss Dance Awards - Current Dance Works.