Gaëlle Bourges is a regular at the Estive. After Conjuring Fear and Le Bain, it immerses the spectators in an Antiquity that has been looted, and questions our relationship to these works of art that we admire in museums without necessarily wondering where they come from, how they arrived there and, above all, if their place in these places is legitimate.
But how to approach this subject without being didactic? This is the whole point of OVTR (we will give everything back) which, starting from the trip of the British aristocrat Lord Elgin to Greece, intended to plunder the works of the Acropolis, gives body and voice to the Caryatids, victims and witnesses of this History which is constantly being rewritten.
Wrapped in bubble wrap, confined in a boat on its way to England, a young woman of marble suffers the greed and lust of Lord Elgin, accompanied by the voice of Kate Bush… “I’ve come home!” . All these works are still in the British Museum and Greece is still demanding their return, in vain, as evidenced by a recent interview with Boris Johnson for a Greek newspaper. To account for this situation, on stage, human Caryatids, plaster, plastic sheeting take over a set that looks like a construction site on which unfolds, embodied, the epistolary exchange of the looters.
To construct this show, Gaëlle Bourges first compiled an immense bibliography, shared with the team, a source of exchanges and discussions at the end of which emerged a score of actions, a choreography. In parallel, the artist records a text in voiceover. This is how the letters arose, that of Lord Elgin, of course, but also his exchanges with his wife and with Giovani Lusieri, Italian painter at the court of Ferdinand I.
Accompanied by the words of the looters, by British pop vinyls, the bodies of the Caryatids move in a hypnotic slowness, a walk that the dancers have invented and that they call “homo-lateral”, a common rhythm but out of step with the relative to each other. This attuning to the walk of the other comes to seek what founds this action, apparently so simple, the walk. And these bodies with minute movements associated with the energy of pop music create a striking contrast.
Gaëlle Bourges says that at the origin of this show, there is a postcard received from Greece the summer of her 15 years, received while she was crossing the United States listening to the Beatles without stopping. A postcard which is the memory of a disappointed love and, now associated with a soundtrack. The Beatles, Lord Elgin, in the end, what the choreographer points to is also a hegemony of the British Empire, in all areas, as illustrated by this bewildering statement by Neil Mac Gregor, director of the British Museum who, for justifying the presence of the Parthenon in his museum, said: “In Athens, the museum deals with local history, the British Museum deals with world history.”
Through this creation, Gaëlle Bourges gives back to Greece what belongs to her but also questions what constitutes us throughout our lives, everything we accumulate and that perhaps we should give back. Because, we too, one day, we received a postcard, a love note that disappointed us, we too, we associated the music we listened to what we lived, so let’s give it all back and agree to the slow march of the Caryatids…
A meeting next Tuesday
This is an appointment not to be missed for those who are interested in the works of Gaëlle Bourges. L’Estive, moreover, has set this new show on Tuesday, February 1 from 8:30 p.m. In addition, it is a moment for all audiences, the goal being to savor the story of this artist. Thus, the full price is 15 euros, if it is reduced from 13 euros. For college students, students and RSA it is 10 euros and for children under 10 from 7 euros. All additional information on: 05 61 05 05 55.