La Marionnette, instrument pour la scène

May 27, 2023 to November 05, 2023

Puppets’ art occupies a part of today’s stage which is both diverse and incredibly creative. Next to anthropomorphic or zoomorphic character-objects, animated by threads, spindles or rods, or handled directly by hands, one encounters all sorts of abstract forms, manufactured objects, raw materials, shadows as well as video or digital creations. Their expressiveness and metamorphoses seem endless. One can describe a puppet as a stage instrument, the same way one would speak of a music instrument with its own tone, tessitura, voice register and repertory, but also as an instrument that the artist reinvents each time thanks to the numerous devices used during a performance. One would then speak of  a ‘creative’ or of a ‘contemporary’ puppet. Not only is the relationship between the puppet and the puppeteer reciprocal, but it also includes the spectator. This is a bond between body, matter and speech; between object, world and thought. The instrumental dimension is therefore destined to erase itself in order to create, at least occasionally, the illusive autonomy of the object , to which the puppeteer delegates some or full powers to suggest, to move or to signify…

From May 27th to November 5th 2023 , the exhibition entitled La marionnette, instrument pour la scene presents theatre, dance, lyric and contemporary puppet creations from the following repertory : Dom Juan, Le Misanthrope, Le Cid, Faust, just to name a few ones. Interpretations of works by Beckett, Minyana, Novarina and others are also featured.

Through more than 200 pieces, the exhibition explores the plurality of characters, gestures and actions that the world of puppets encompasses. It also elaborates on the way the puppet’s art has influenced the renewal of dramaturgy and staging (notably with the avant-garde) and the reinvestment and reinvention of the repertory and dramatic genres like fairy tales and satires. The exhibition also explains how puppeteers have allowed the hybridization of the scenic genres (small and large scale opera, dance, circus or cabaret shows) and the displacement of the frontiers between various artistic domains : plastic arts, installations, experimentations with matter and the likes.

The puppets, archives, pictures and videos on display come from cultural heritage institutions -first and foremost from the National Library of France. Some were lent by artists or puppet theatre companies.