02.02.2024 #art

The Future of Statues

A Danced Allegory of Life by Marie Agnès Gillot and Charlotte

In their latest performance, Charlotte Dauphin and Marie Agnès Gillot bring together dance, sculpture and video. The duo, formed by a multidisciplinary artist and a prima ballerina, sought to bring these two rarely interacting fields together. We had the pleasure of speaking to the two artists, whose paths keep interweaving.

“The permanence of this object comes to meet the ephemeral nature of the performance”

While dance is fundamentally about movement, sculpture belongs to the realm of stillness. What were you aiming for by confronting these opposites?

Marie Agnès Gillot :

Personally, I think of everything in terms of movement, sculptures included. When I’m confronted with them, I can’t help but picture an animated version.

Charlotte Dauphin :

I see less a clashing than a juxtaposition of the arts. This is demonstrated by the use of video, not only during the performance to enrich the message but also afterwards, when the footage is edited to make a film.



In the first piece, “Barre” (2023), you created a column with a split that runs the length of its centre. What does it symbolise?

Marie Agnès Gillot :

The slit is a recurring element in Charlotte’s work, you can find it in her circles, which have an opening. For me, trying to slip through is like trying to break into something forbidden. I’m trying to intrude, to bring movement into an inherently static object.

Charlotte Dauphin:

I found interesting the idea of surrounding this frozen totemic form with a moving body. The permanence of this object comes to meet the ephemeral nature of the performance.


On the subject of temporality, we find this notion in both of your works.

Marie Agnès Gillot :

Yes, it’s an intrinsic part of a performance that is bound by a time limit. In “Barre”, I make a reference to this with a succession of large clockwise movements.

Charlotte Dauphin:

Likewise, in “Barre”, as the sun moves, we see the shadow changing, like a sundial used to measure time. In the Musée de l’Orangerie, time was also indicated through a video in which a rose loses its petals.

Marie Agnès Gillot:

The music playing at the Musée de l’Orangerie, Vivaldi’s Seasons, is a conscious choice to forego winter. We can see in it a desire to celebrate life.

Charlotte Dauphin:

The rose could also be a reference to Ronsard’s Rose, a piece of poetry evoking the passing of time.

How does Monet’s painting, the backdrop to your performance at the Musée de l’Orangerie, engage in this work?

Marie Agnès Gillot:

It evokes the idea of an odyssey, a journey. It allows the space to open up, while we are in a closed one. I worked a lot with Pina Bausch, for whom these notions of space and time were pivotal. Those familiar with her work will have noticed that I dedicated some of my hand and arm movements to her.

Charlotte Dauphin:

I agree with Marie Agnès Gillot. I was inspired by the time marked by the music and the space marked not only by the painting but also by the oval shape of the room.

Marie Agnès Gillot:

Speaking of this oval, both it and its double in the other room immediately made me think of the mathematical sign for infinity. A kind of elongated figure 8, if you like.

Finally, there’s colour. We see a predominance of red and black, as well as white.

Marie Agnès Gillot:

Red is highly symbolic. In “Barre”, I wear a red dress. In it, you can see blood circulating, a symbol of life as opposed to the stillness that would symbolise death. I dance life in the face of death.

Charlotte Dauphin:

Black and white are also symbols of the good and evil that continually confront us in our lives. It’s an allegory of our existence.


THE FUTURE OF STATUES, a performance created by Charlotte Dauphin in collaboration with Marie-Agnès Gillot and produced by Dauphin Studio and Rosalie Miller Mann.

This unique performance premiered at the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris and will be presented in various cultural institutions around the world (dates to be announced for 2024 and 2025).

Interview by Nicolas Salomon and Cristina López Caballer

Photos: Paul Blind and Pénélope Caillet.



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