Gisèle Vienne And
Ryuichi Sakamoto Associate Artists For Holland Festival 2021

The French-Austrian theatre director Gisèle Vienne (1976) and the Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (1952) have been appointed as associate artists for the Holland Festival in 2021. Both artists are extraordinarily versatile and share a broad interest in art in a variety of disciplines, as shown by their many collaborations with other artists from around the world – from Hollywood directors to techno artists, visual artists and rock bands. The two associate artists share a particular interest in electronic music as well as in Japan and Japanese culture. The festival will be presenting new or recent work from both artists. 

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). Sakamoto is collaborating with the multi-disciplinary artist Shiro Takatani on Time, an unconventional opera which is also a coproduction with the Holland Festival. 

‘Every year, the Holland Festival, in close collaboration with the artists, presents a program that is fitting for the current times. With their topical work, their wide range of interests and large network, these associate artists offer many invaluable opportunities for deepening and expanding this edition’s program. Together with them, the festival explores the best ways of presenting innovative and relevant work live for this coming festival.’ 
– Emily Ansenk, director Holland Festival 

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 2017. She also regularly exhibits photos and installations. 

Ryuichi Sakamoto (1952, Tokyo) has lived many musical lives in his nearly 70 years. As a keyboardist and songwriter in Haruomi Hosono’s Yellow Magic Orchestra, he helped set the stage for technopop.  His solo experiments in fusing global genres and close studies of classical impressionism led to him scoring nearly forty films in as many years, including Nagisa Oshima’s Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (1983), Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Last Emperor (1987), The Sheltering Sky (1990), and the Academy Award-winning film The Revenant (2015) by Alejandro González Iñárritu. 

In the past 20 years alone, he’s written a multimedia opera, turned a glass building into an instrument, and travelled to the Arctic to record the sound of melting snow. That exploratory spirit runs through Sakamoto’s 2017 album, async, which paints an audio portrait of the passing of time informed by his recovery from throat cancer. ‘Music, work, and life all have a beginning and an ending,’ said Sakamoto in early 2019. ‘What I want to make now is music freed from the constraints of time.’ 

Since the mid-nineties, Sakamoto has devoted much of his time to environmental and pacifist causes, which is also reflected in his work, as in the opera LIFE (1999). He has launched charitable organisations and beginning in 2012, organised the yearly ongoing music event NO NUKES, which many well-known artists, including Kraftwerk, took part in to protest nuclear energy after the Fukushima disaster. 

His accolades include an Academy Award, two Golden Globes, a Grammy, the Order of the Cavaleiro Admissão from the Brazilian government and the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French government. 

Sakamoto was featured with Alva Noto at the 2005 Holland Festival with Insen

Annual collaboration

Since 2019, the Holland Festival collaborates with one or two associate artists each year. Besides their work, the festival puts the spotlight on themes relevant to them, as well as on related artists. As well as this program involving and accompanying the associate artists, the Holland Festival features work from other notable and important artists. Previous associate artists were Bill T. Jones in 2020 and Faustin Linyekula and William Kentridge in 2019. 

The 74th edition of the Holland Festival will take place in June 2021.