Center Georges Pompidou, Paris. 19 / IX / 19. As part of the Festival d’Automne. Put your heart under your feet… and walk! Choreography, scenography, costumes and interpretation: Steven Cohen. Music: Joseph Go Mahan The Desperate Ones; Leonard Cohen It Seemed the Better Way; Marianne Faithfull Boulevard Of Broken Dreams. Light creation and management: Yvan Labasse. Video management: Baptiste Evrard. Broadcasting, stage assistant, outside perspective: Catherine Cossa
Steven Cohen digs a tomb for his dead companion in Put your heart under your feet… and walk !. Short, baroque and intense, this performance leaves a taste of blood and ashes in the mouth.
Steven Cohen’s work is less and less choreographic and more and more visual. The beauty of this performance lies precisely in its visual dimension, through which Steve Cohen uses film, photography, costume and make-up, as well as a gallery of artefacts which are as many extensions of his baroque and eccentric personality.
Put your heart under your feet… and walk ! is a tomb, eulogy in the manner of Steven Cohen of his companion Elu, who died in 2016. ” We used to have temples, no we have theaters He said. The theater and the conception of this show are for him a way of mourning, without any taboos. Steven Cohen claims he isn’t playing games, but everything he does or says is true.
In a baroque scenography, composed of an installation on the floor of fetishized dance shoes, a support for four hand-cranked gramophones forming a sort of black tutu and, in the foreground, an altar of rococo candlesticks , Steven Cohen evolves with fragility and delicacy on unstable cothurnes and excessive stilts heels. In these blade-bristling artifacts, violence is underlying.
Another source of intense violence, a film is screened at regular intervals in the back of the stage. Steven Cohen is used to being filmed in hostile territory (here, a slaughterhouse). Despite the beauty of their realization, these images of bloody carcasses and viscera just emerging from still trembling animals are difficult to sustain. Does Steven Cohen equate his suffering with animal suffering? Does he cover himself with the warm, thick blood of these beasts like the Japanese butoh dancers cover themselves with ashes? The answer is in his protean work, which over the years has built up a personal diary in pictures.
Photographic credits: © Pierre Planchenault
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