Jérôme Bel

Jérôme Bel (1995)

Jérôme Bel, Jérôme Bel (1995) © Herman Sorgeloo
Jérôme Bel, Jérôme Bel (1995) © Herman Sorgeloo

26 & 27.06.23

Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers

When he created Jérôme Bel in 1995, the choreographer of the same name looked at dance and its frame of representation with the simple yet decisive question – what are the elements that constitute a dance performance? Inspired by Roland Barthes’ essay Writing Degree Zero, Jérôme Bel’s response is a work stripped to the essential: five naked bodies, a lightbulb, a piece of chalk and a blackboard. For want of actually making bodies dance, the choreographer displays their anatomic, functional, social, and symbolic characteristics. In a cave-like atmosphere, the black box of the theatre welcomes the first bodies in which dance originated. With a single lightbulb, a cappella song and naked bodies, Jérôme Bel makes his stamp on his generation and becomes a reference point for the next. Now at over 200 performances, still with original interpreters Frédéric Seguette and Claire Haeni, this piece has become an emblem of 1990s conceptual dance and has lost nothing of its radicalism.

Jérôme Bel is a French choreographer who scrutinises the use of choreographic language by producing minimalist shapes that offer up a critical view of what makes a show or perfor-mance and what comes into play when they are received. This issue has been the essence of Bel’s creations since the nineties (nom donné par l’auteur, Jérôme Bel, Shirtologie). His series of portraits also looks at dance as experienced by dancers, including Véronique Doisneau, Cédric Andrieux, and Xiao Ke. Jérôme Bel is currently associate artist at the CN D (2023-2024).