Ioannis Mandafounis Company | Geneve
Ossip Mandelstam. A Performance
concept & choreography: Elena Giannotti, Ioannis Mandafounis, Roberta Mosca, Bruce Myers
text: poems by Ossip Mandelstam
costumes: Marion Schmid
light design: David Kretonic
sound design: David Scrufari
management: Mélanie Fréguin
premiere: Theater ADC, Geneva, 2016
performed by: Elena Giannotti, Aoife McAtamney, Ioannis Mandafounis, Pavle Pekić
production: Cie Ioannis Mandafounis
coproduction: Association pour la danse contemporaine ADC - Geneva, Prairie Migros Cultural Percentage
supported by: City of Geneva, State of Geneva, Lottery Romande, Nestlé for Art Foundation, Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Ernst Göhner Foundation, S.I.G, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation
A great poet at the heart of the Russian avant-garde, Ossip Mandelstam fought for freedom of speech in a regime of tyranny. Rapidly confronted with censure, totally foreign to the “aesthetic" recommendations given by advocates of “socialist realism”, Mandelstam was quickly condemned to imprisonment and exile to Siberian Gulag until his death. Nevertheless, nothing was able to stop him from pursuing his demanding art, just as exceptional in prose as in verse. The performance that we have created is our way to give an impression in words and movement, of his œuvre. A poet that is prohibited from writing is a poet that is prohibited from living. Mandelstam was prevented from publication during his lifetime and literally annihilated as a human being. Yet he claimed his life through his poems, which are evidence of an exceptional talent and a rare spiritual strength. He has been source of inspiration for his contemporaries and for all those who love poetry.
After the creation of the duo P.A.D. in 2007, Ioannis Mandafounis and Fabrice Mazliah decided to pursue their creative passion to their profession as dancers-performers of the Forsythe Company. In 2009, they returned to their home town to establish the association Cie Projet 11. The choreographers, convinced of what she could offer to the artistic collective, decided to bring May Zarhy into their research work and creative exploration. All three had met at the Forsythe Company, thereby inheriting a specific taste. Through their work, they developed a choreographic space, which questions the existing tension between the visual image and the physical feeling it produces in the viewer, or rather – between the physical image and the visual feeling. The choreographers are always searching for new opportunities to acquaint spectators with dance. They cultivate “a way of seeing”, making the spectator responsible for his experience as a viewer and inviting him/her to invest in what they are seeing in order to live a real experience. This desire to involve the spectator, to invite them to push open the “doors to perception”, so to speak, is a constant in their performances. Mandafounis, Mazliah and Zarhy then founded the art collective Mamaza and created dance works “Z.E.R.O.” (2009), “Cover up” (2011), “The Nikel project - poems&songs” (2012), as well as many choreographic installations. Their dance works and installations were presented and co-produced by important institutions, such as Théâtre de la Ville Paris, Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm Frankfurt, Dampfzentrale Bern, Forsythe Company, Gessnerallee Zurich, Rencontres Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis, Kampnagel Hamburg, Centre National de la Danse - CND Paris, Desingel Antwerp, 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Italy, Seoul Performing Arts Festival, etc… In 2012, members of the Mamaza collective decided to open new perspectives. Mandafounis resumed the management of Cie Projet 11 and renamed the company after his name. As an extension of his collaborations with the old members of the collective Mamaza, he has created “Pausing” (with May Zarhy) and “Eifo Efi” (with Fabrice Mazilah). He has also created “Twisted Pair”, “ApersonA”, “One One One”, and more to come. In parallel, Mandafounis made numerous works for the Ballet Junior de Genève, he is teaching contemporary dance, doing master classes for the Rencontres Professionelles de Danse, as well as touring nationally and internationally with his company...
Never mind if you don’t speak English flu¬ently. The movements of the dancers, branching on various readings of the British actor are enough for us to seize the essence of the lyrical language, sober and romantic – an ode in sound to life and to the body.
© Le Courrier