Under their masks, shaped like the animals depicted on The Lady and the Unicorn, four dancers re-weave on the stage the six famous tapestries. Re-weave and unweave, since Gaëlle Bourges isn't content with simply calling on the most well-known side of this medieval work. Giving her show the title of the sixth tapestry, she sums up the distinctive ambivalence of the time and reveals the numerous interpretations intertwined in it. Take, for instance, the unicorn, this chaste creature that will only let pure beings approach it, always seen next to the young lady, which should be a symbol of her virginity. Yet its horn itself is subject to controversy; and that's without even mentioned the dog, the lion, the fox, the monkey, and above all the thirty-five rabbits that spread, against a red madder backdrop, values that aren't as pious as they seem to be. On the other side, the maiden who reaches for a jewelry box could very well be no maiden after all, especially since the sixth tapestry opens with a large horizon of, you guessed it, rabbits. Through precise gestures and the power of numbers, A mon seul désir revives both old images and the history of thought.
Gaëlle Bourges studied modern literature and English, all while studying several forms of dance. After creating her first shows with the Compagnie K., she founded the Groupe Raoul Batz, with which she created from 2000 to 2005 a series of performances called Homothétie 949 ou les contours progressifs de l'index 10, which already questioned, through dance, the relationship between our gaze, the representation of bodies, art history, and the history of scenic forms. After the dissolution of the Groupe Raoul Batz, she studied performing arts at the université Paris VIII, co-founded the association Os, and worked for a time in an erotic theatre. She used that experience to create Je baise les yeux, a conference/demonstration about the job of stripper, co-written with three faithful companions—Marianne Chargois, Alice Roland, and Gaspard Delanoë. The first part of the triptych Vider Vénus, it was then followed by La belle indifférence in 2010 and Le verrou (figure de fantaisie attribuée à tort à Fragonard) in 2013. Gaëlle Bourges also wrote En découdre (un rêve grec) in 2012, Un beau raté in 2013, and 59 in 2014.
Woven around 1500, The Lady and the Unicorn is a series of tapestries whose creator remains unknown and which were rediscovered by Prosper Mérimée in 1841. They have since then been exhibited in the musée de Cluny in Paris. Across the six tapestries, the pennants of the family who sponsored them, the Le Vistes, appear along with a depiction of the five senses—touch, taste, smell, hearing, sight—and of a mysterious sixth sense. Symbol of a renunciation of material pleasures or invitation to love, the last tapestry, which bears the words “A. mon seul désir I.” remains a mystery.
Conception and narrative Gaëlle Bourges
Music XTRONIK, Erwan Keravec
Lights Abigail Fowler, Ludovic Rivière
Costumes Cédrick Debeuf, Louise Duroure
Tradermarks Krista Argale
Accessories Chrystel Zingiro
With Carla Bottiglieri, Gaëlle Bourges, Agnès Butet, Alice Roland
And the participation of extras Ana Abril, Quentin Amalou, Justine Boulard, Cyril Boussin, Christian Cagnol, Eve Coltat, Jean-Baptiste Damiens, Vanina Delannoy, Mathilde Dromard, Sophie Fondu, Caroline Gerard, Claire Gervais, Ludovic Granseigne, Roxane Isnard, Camille Kolski, Louis Labadens, Zoé Lepetitdidier-Carcano, Adrien Maleskyne, Didier M., Mario Naslis, Julie Palmier, Valérie Paüs, Marion Peuta, Mathie Puglisi, Marie-Élise Riman, Kristina Strelkova, Cathy Turek, Vincent Wallez
Coproduction Ballet du Nord Centre chorégraphique national de Roubaix Nord-Pas de Calais, Centre chorégraphique national de Tours, Festival Rayons Frais Tours, Ménagerie de Verre
With the support of Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication - DRAC Île-de-France, Adami, Le Vivat Scène conventionnée d'Armentières within the framework of its residencies policy
With the help of La Ménagerie de Verre within the framework of Studiolab, La Briqueterie Centre de développement chorégraphique du Val-de-Marne, La Halle aux Cuirs / La Villette
The Festival d'Avignon receives support of the BNP Paribas Foundation for the representations of A mon seul désir