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May 26
Film Series
POSTPONED | The Confession Embassy of France - La Maison Française 4101 Reservoir Road, NW - Washington, DC

Théo Mercier & Steven Michel at The Invisible Dog

The Invisible Dog Art Center presents Théo Mercier and Steven Michel's work on Monday, November 12, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. and on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.

In Affordable Solution for Better Living, visual artist Théo Mercier  and choreographer-performer Steven Michel break the taboos of a society saddled with healthy living, placing a Kallax–a most peculiar totem–in the middle of a spotless space. The flagship shelf unit by the giant company Ikea, less famous than the Billy but more sizable and refined, epitomizes “beauty for all.” By transposing a commercial system into a choreographic piece, Affordable Solution for Better Living aims to interrogate the commodified body, the prescribed lifestyle and the illusion of freedom touted by the major industrial powers. How does the corporate world stage the consumer’s body? Is the household the only insubmissive space or in fact an umpteenth incarnation staged by a major brand? In three acts, Affordable Solution for Better Living debunks the model and unfurls the convictions and doubts of a nearly perfect and polished man. A centaur, half man and half furniture, absurdly builds his own customized interior, unique and yet like all the others. In crescendo, man and space merge beautifully, the smooth, the harmonious and the chilling world's cracks and bends, exposing its dark side as well as its humanity. Aren’t people likely to self-destruct from within as they strive excessively to tend to their interior?

The work of Artist and Stage Director Théo Mercier forms a critical inquiry at the intersection of anthropology, ethnography, geopolitics, and tourism. Between choreographed performance works and the exploration of diverse materials, he is both a creator and a collector, involved in a rich dialogue between the past, the present and the future. His dialogue demands what is animate and what is inanimate, what is the truth and what are lies, what is artisanal and what is industrial, what is sacred and what is profane, and what is real and what is imaginary. Most of Mercier’s pieces turn on the anthropomorphisation of objects–whether they are found, assembled, in collage or grafted together. He tends to work in series, forming communities of pieces–roughly grouped as young or old or male or female. While in residency at Villa Médicis de Rome, he wrote his first performance Du futur faisons table rase, performed at Nanterre-Amandiers (Paris) in December 2014. During the same year, Théo Mercier was nominated for the Marcel Duchamp prize. He presented a personal exhibition in Mexico, Los Angeles, Paris, and New York. His works have also been shown at Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Moscow Biennial, Centre Pompidou (Paris), and Hamburger Bannhof (Germany). His last performance La Fille du collectionneur was showed at Nanterre-Amandiers (Paris) in 2017. He works and lives between Paris and Mexico.

Steven Michel (France, 1986) studied mime and circus from an early age, and dance and percussion as a teenager, before settling in Brussels in 2006. He trained at The P.A.R.T.S. dance school (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios), directed by Ann Teresa De Keersmaeker, graduating in 2010. He has worked as a dancer and has worked with choreographers, theater directors and filmmakers such as David Zambrano, Falk Richter, Lukas Dhont, Daniel Linehan, and Maud Le Pladec, as well as plastic artists such as Theo Mercier and Sarah&Charles. Since 2012, he has regularly collaborated with the Belgian choreographer Jan Martens.

The performances in New-York follow the Actoral festival in Montreal where Théo Mercier will present his work on November 2, 2018 at 8:00 p.m. and on November 3, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

These performances are supported by FUSED, French U.S. Exchange in Dance, a program of FACE Foundation.