The month of performance art is ending in Berlin with a fabulous reunion of artists at The Shift. The main theme, “Gender and Sexuality”, promises a night of provocation and transgression. A young artist, La Poulette, describes her performance in this exclusive interview and talks about her expectations for the night.
A stage. A mirror. Black light.
Behind the stage, like an antique choir, three women sing old and modern songs.
I enter the scene, naked under my dressing gown. My body begins to follow the fluidity of the music. I slowly prepare myself to dress up in front of the mirror. I exude every element of femininity while dancing : stockings, dress, liner, nail polish, lipstick, necklace. All white.
This is how I picture my performance of the May 29th: a negative of striptease. The black light will emphasize everything that normally covers what is longed to be uncovered; the body.
Particular attention should always be given to the feminine form of the body. It is a representation of grace; beautiful yet fragile. That explains why my main source of inspiration for this performance was the burlesque world. I’m fascinated by the class of those ladies from another time. I shamefully confess that I haven’t seen a burlesque number in my entire life, however, here I can put the freedom and creativity of my imagination into play.
In burlesque, I see an anthem to femininity. Makeup put on in a simple way to highlight the natural beauty of a face, up until now. It was also a weapon of mass seduction. Just remember the icons of the fifties : each one had an unique style. Isn’t it fascinating that fifty years after her death, Marilyn remains an icon? Her face, her body, her curves are seen everywhere and still inspires fashion designers and publicists. She is instantly recognizable. The most incredible aspect of this era is that every woman looked as highly sophisticated as Marilyn did through little things such as a nice hairdo, sleek eye liner and high heels.
And today? Where is the femininity? I don’t pretend to be a model of grace but I’ve noticed that a ‘casualness’ has crept into female world. You walk by women in the street that have beautiful bodies and great curves but you don’t really see them as they don’t make the most of their natural, feminine beauty. It is all or nothing, flashy or boring. Our modern education doesn’t teach us how to walk, talk or present ourselves anymore.
This is where the significance of my performance, “Dressing Beauty”, has been derived from. I will pay particular attention to the way that I present these dressing rituals that have been organically passed down through generations of women. The symbolism characterizing our daily beauty routine is very strong. Every modern girl is following the same process to get ready for a date, as the women of Ancient Egypt did. My dance uses moves such as brushing, stripping, dressing, looking at your reflection but I will emphasise the transformation aspect.
We, as women, transform ourselves, our body and our perception of it, which expresses an innate desire to disguise ourselves. It is a game : we create the desire, we introduce the curiosity. The openess of my performance will be penetrate the intimacy of a woman preparing to seduce, with an emphasis on the accessories. The woman will craftily remain behind her artifices, enjoying the transformation. Nobody will be able to see the femininity before I put the white clothes on. I will be in control of this transformation like a burlesque dancer controls her audience when she takes her clothes off.
This is one of the reasons I do performance art. You can do whatever you want, imagination and audacity being the main qualities you need. This time I am going to include a staging of myself. I’ll picture myself as an actress shooting a scene. Every detail will reflect the perfection of a movie : the light, the music, and my femininity. I often use these elements as I like to create a direct link with the viewers. It is all about giving and feeling : authenticity, energy and emotion. A face-to-face experience helps the audience get into the universe of the artist with greater ease, which I believe to be integral in contemporary art and performance. The presence of the artist implies a subjectivity- I, as a performer, expect a reaction from the public- even if it is conflict! We also organize these events to provoke people and, furthermore, to make them think. I interact and socialise with my audience after every act to get feedback and discover what people have understood from it.
On the night of the performance I’ll be on the other side of the stage too. I am the third artist to perform and I want to use this timing as an opportunity to watch and experience the other performances. No doubt I’ll be the most “traditional” artist as I don’t focus my art on transsexualism. My personal goal is not to shock but rather to surpass my limits. I eagerly await the moment in which I’ll present myself naked on stage, even if the public is somewhat used to these genre of performances. The dance will be half improvised as I want to be stimulated and inspired by the atmosphere of the room. The pressure is huge and it is on, especially since I am trying to imaginatively inspire myself by the burlesque world without ever having experienced it. For me, as sensuality is at the heart of this art, the conventional behaviours and moves of burlesque won’t really matter. My striptease will be the anthem to femininity of the evening!