top of page
by Cristina Grazioli
These constellations are born under a darkened sky.
A Japanese ambassador stationed in Geneva in 1935 wrote to Justin Godart, pointing out an artist from his country as a sculptor of puppet heads
"Le ciel politique est bien chargé en ce moment: j'espère vivement qu'une éclaircie se produira bientôt ..."
We talk about them, over which armed leaden skies hang, even when we don't mention them.
We enter the constellation of Aries
Richard Teschner, highly refined creator of visions and animator of figures, had inscribed the signs of the 12 zodiac signs around the circular 'proscenium' covered by a concave glass of his Figurenspiegel - a porthole from which to let the magic of the spectacles flow. The sign that dominated the magical circle at the top was Aries, corresponding in various esoteric cultures to the idea of beginning, initiation, beginning.
The fairytale and ghostly creatures of his creations were made with mathematical precision and at the same time gave themselves to vision as fluid as liquids. A pond of water could reflect a figure, evoking Narcissus, the highly refined lights could exploit chemical reaction processes - perhaps also thanks to forms that contained water. The body of water offers the double of the puppet its double, the water amplifies its reverbs.
Water Air Earth Fire.
Light is inseparable from any manifestation and metamorphosis of the primary elements.
The alliance between water and light in the show is ancient. To stay with modernity and to cite very few examples, a naumachia in Düsseldorf in 1585, set up in a festive cycle on the Rhine ( Jülische Hochzeit ), on magnificent rafts where 'figures' stage allegories of the myth embodied by the stars of the time - the rulers; result of an avant-garde scenography, capable of giving dramaturgical form to pyrotechnics in its interaction with water.
Ponds of water in the baroque court gardens could become part of the scenography.
The creatures of the Villa di Pratolino (derivation of ancient automata, chirping devices, fountains 'water jokes' and other theaters powered by water power) were marvelous machines. Animation - manipulation of natural forms transformed into artifice - created astonishing figures, marvelous theaters in the garden space.
Even the first device known to produce colored light effects, the lamp designed by Leonardo, uses skilfully colored or filtered water ...
Let's scroll through the many magnificent animated, figural, figurative examples floating in the WATER of this number ONE.
But I also think of the pouring water on stage in Writing to Vermeer by Peter Greenaway, which alluding to the opening of the dams at the time of the Dutch painter drag skeletons of figures (metal structures that previously bore the 'characters').
Or at Ostermeier's Otello where the actors act with soaking feet and part of their legs.
To stay with the figures, looking at recent times, we recall the scene aquariums of Marina by the Brazilians Pe Quod. Or the puppet dancing inside the glass of water in Frank Soehnle's Hôtel de Rive - dedicated to Giacometti.
The animated figures in the water of Basil Twist in Symphonie Phantastique .
And the sirens? The gaze runs to a Siren of the Puppet Theater in Cuticchio, but also to a mural - a figure that comes alive with the movement of those who pass in front of us, seen these days along a canal ...
To imagine figures, the magnificent Solaris staged by Andrea De Rosa (adaptation of the play by David Greig in turn derived from Lem's novel): the ocean that 'embodies' ('in water' ...) the planet is itself figure; the creatures it generates are figural ghosts; his language is light (translated in this case scenically by Pasquale Mari).
What do you look for in the seabed, in rivers, in the real or imagined ocean, in creatures between fish and humans…?
A material that substantiates us, something that is related to us and yet does not homologate us to the rest of creation, like the puppet doubles the human, always leaving a gap, now imperceptible and disturbing, now evident and perhaps even reassuring in its otherness ...
Brunella Eruli spoke of the puppeteer as a liquid actor (with debt and treason declared towards Zygmunt Bauman).
The constellations that we would like not so much to draw but to let glimpse through small signals, in their small lights reflect earthly drawings, keep their feet on the ground or stretch their feet towards the earth.
And they call the gardens.
In the Botanical Garden of Padua, Gianandrea Gazzola creates Per silentia : inaudible sound vibrations become visible thanks to the movement imparted to the water by a device that 'expresses' a musical score written in water and light.
But they also call the forests.
In The Shape of Water by Guillermo Del Toro the amphibious creature that is subjected to scientific experimentation at the risk of life was captured in an Amazon rainforest where it was venerated by the natives ... It brings to mind a show by Alvaro Apocalypse (Giramundo, BR) which stages the myths of water linked to the Cobra Norato (Pajé - the Shaman - is now exhibited at the People and Puppets exhibition in the convent of San Francesco in Pordenone).
ANIMATAzine is a message in the bottle: it sails following the water currents, not by chance, since the currents are always connected to other atmospheric events, the tides to the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon.
The animated sheet arrives on other shores, it is collected like the many objets trouvès that become characters in many figure theaters.
These constellations are changing figures, they will take shape over the weeks and months, as they flow and pass from one constellation to another.
In the coming weeks the constellations will become more visible and will be integrated by indications of visions, readings, listening, sharing, images.
The next movement, where the suggestions sketched here will be partly enriched and perhaps partly modified, will be that at the entrance to the constellation of Taurus, around 20 April 2022.
bottom of page