Gisèle Vienne

associate artist Holland Festival 2021

Theatre director Gisèle Vienne (1976, Charleville-Mézières) lives and works in Paris. After her studies in philosophy, she studied puppeteering at l’École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette. Human-like figures such as marionettes, mannequins, masks and dolls are a recurring feature in her work. However, she also increasingly works with actors and dancers, whom she directs with a touch in artificiality. In her work, Vienne gives human form to philosophical ideas and shows how opposing desires – for beauty, love and destruction – are more closely related than often thought; she gets under the audience’s skin. Vienne was heavily influenced by the electronic music scene of Berlin in the early nineties, where she lived for three years. 

Since 2004, she regularly collaborates with the writer Dennis Cooper and the musicians Peter Rehberg and Stephen O'Malley (co-founder of the experimental metal band Sunn O))). Over the past 20 years, her work has been touring in Europe and regularly performed in Asia and in America, among which I Apologize (2004), Kindertotenlieder (2007), Jerk 
(2008), This is how you will disappear (2010), LAST SPRING: A Prequel (2011), The Ventriloquists Convention (2015), in collaboration with Puppentheater Halle, and Crowd (2017). In 2020, she created with Etienne Bideau-Rey a fourth version of Showroomdummies at the Rohm Theater Kyoto, originally created in 2001. Her work The Pyre was featured at the 2013 Holland Festival, followed by Crowd in 2018. She also regularly exhibits photos and installations. 

Vienne’s new work L'Étang, a coproduction with the Holland Festival, is having its premiere in November in France. It is based on a short play by the Swiss author Robert Walser and is performed by Adèle Haenel (known from Portrait de la Jeune Fille en Feu) and Ruth Vega Fernandez (Kiss me).