The “stupor” dates back to this evening in 2014. At the Théâtre des Abbesses in Paris, the choreographer Yoann Bourgeois presents his piece Midnight. On stage, six performers are suspended from a bar, to which they try to hang on as long as possible until they fall inexorably to the ground, one after the other, until the last. In the room, there is Chloé Moglia, author of a work co-created a few years earlier in 2007 with Mélissa Von Vépy, In suspense, in which five presences are suspended from a bar, to which they try to hang on as long as possible until they fall inexorably to the ground, one after the other, until the last. So “stupor”. At the time, because Yoann Bourgeois and Chloé Moglia maintained a relationship of friendship, because the boundaries between homage, quotation and plagiarism were among the most tenuous that there are, due to other mechanisms that she is attempting today. to shell in a long introspection exercise on his Facebook account, Chloe Moglia didn’t say anything. Since then, Yoann Bourgeois has become one of the most internationally distributed French performing artists and also co-director of the Center chorégraphique national de Grenoble (CCN2) with Rachid Ouramdane (whose appointment to Chaillot has just been learned) ).
This morning, she wrote publicly in a long post widely shared in the performing arts community: “I remember very precisely that I did not know how to react. I also remember that I blamed myself. And even that I was ashamed. […] I’m not a judge, being part of the case. Therefore, I do not know if what I saw in Midnight is a copy of a work by Mélissa and me or a motif that Yoann “borrows” from us. I would have expected the recognition of our situated points of view to be shared more, in particular with Yoann Bourgeois (but not only). ” And no doubt she is not the only one.
Chloé Moglia’s text follows a column published by Yoann Bourgeois two days ago on the Artcena.com site, a forum which itself seemed to respond (although it never explicitly mentions it) to a disturbing video (at a minimum), broadcast anonymously on social networks on February 5 and entitled The use of works. The video presents a parallel montage between a large number of choreographic sequences signed by ten different artists on one side (Chloé Moglia, but also Camille Boitel, Jean-Baptiste André or Lucien Reynes – some are former performers of Bourgeois) and their “digestion” sometimes identically in later works signed by Yoann Bourgeois. Not an isolated case, therefore, but a mass effect which visibly convinced the co-director of CCN2 to counterattack as follows in his text: “The history of art is an endless series of reinterpretations and diversions of ideas, patterns, references.” Tributes, according to him. And certainly not plagiarism, committed by a very established choreographer, to the detriment of lesser-known and independent artists.
Circulation and appropriation of works
Moreover, for Yoann Bourgeois, we learn in the Facebook post of the circus artist, these many artists together form what he calls his “Imaginary constellation”. Which inspires some reflections in Chloé Moglia on the militias between the circulation of works and appropriation, the promotion of the “commons” and the exercise of power and domination: “I wonder how my star cronies we are so nombreux.ses ! how did they, they, them, experience this assimilation ? Assimilation to the imaginary constellation, and assimilation to the very work of Yoann Bourgeois ? she asks herself. From my place as an artist, I also wonder how young artists react when the co-director of CCN2 in Grenoble tells them, from his position : “Tell me about your projects” ?» The term “plagiarism” is never used by Chlo Moglia, whose nuanced and cautious speech (too much, for some commentators already seeing here an interesting case of #MeToo from the show) will allow, she hopes, to raise “A bundle of questions on ethics in the cultural sector, on authors’ rights and what works, on the protection of said works, on power relations”.