After training at Mudra from 1970 to 1973, in the first promotion of the school founded by Maurice Béjart in Brussels, and then with Bob Wilson and Jerzy Grotowski, Pierre Droulers created his first pieces with the Triangle group: works improvised depending on his encounters (Hedges with Steve Lacy, Tao with Sheryl Sutton, Tips with Pascale Murtin and François Hiffler, the future duet of “Grand Magasin’, or else Pieces for nothing with the music group Minimal Compact). Then, in the mid-1980s, he worked as a dancer, in particular with Anne-Teresa De Keersmaeker, who awakened his interest in questions of structure and composition in choreographic works. From that moment on, the artist has remained forever passionate about the processes of creation, all of which shines through from his archives, recently donated to the Médiathèque of the CN D.
Based on James Joyce’s book Finnegans Wake, he created the diptych Comme si on était leurs petits poucets (1991) and Jamais de l’abîme (1993), compositions circling around the text and the theme of the double, materialised on the work sheet by the figure of a circle which decomposes into as many parts as they are actions suggested to the performers. With Mountain Fountain (1995), his work became more abstract, ridding itself of any kind of theatricality, even if literary texts remained clearly present, while another essential element of the choreographer’s work appeared: his “dreams of matter”. The son of a painter, Pierre Droulers is highly sensitive to a studio atmosphere and work on matter, and his encounters with the artists Michel François and Ann Veronica Janssens were to allow him to introduce this element fully into his work. For example, alongside woollen objects, spindles of thread or other materials, many of the writings in his archives also evoke liquid, solid or gas states (De l’air et du vent, 1996), as well as a play on colours (Inouï, 2004, Flowers, 2007) or else the opposition between light and darkness (Soleils, 2013). But he has also worked on the relationship of the body with space and architecture: in Ma, in 2000, he confronted the urban space with the inner space; in Inouï, in 2004, he placed the space of a habitat, there where we live, in a correspondence with the various functions of the body.
These intentions and these processes are revealed in numerous ways in his archives: notes taken while working, scores which are sometimes more structured, or else documents conceived by third-party observers at the artist’s request. For example, Sofie Kokaj produced booklets that narrated touch by touch the ongoing work on Multum in parvo (1998), then, with Hans Teys, there are other booklets concerning the conception of Ma (2000). Videomakers have also documented these processes: Sima Khatami (Flowers), Ludovica Riccardi (Inouï), Philippe Van Cutsem (Multum in parvo). The films by the first two of them were to become in their turn an ingredient for the choreographer who projected them onto the stage in Two night ping-pong (2009), a piece presented as a guide book to his universe.
Finally, Pierre Droulers used his very own archives as a material to be worked on, by conceiving the 2017 exhibition Dimanche and the book Sunday, which display on stage and on pages, from the traces that remained, the mesh of artistic influences, human encounters, and personal as well as group projects that represent – to quote the phrase given as a guideline to the performers of Ma – a form of “personal mythology” for this choreographer.