The world as mere scenery, language as a system of rules dominating our relations to humans and things, the body bound in paradigms that claim eternal validity – Clément Layes shows that this doesn’t have to be the case. There are other possibilities and there is scope for alternatives. You just have to balance a glass of water on your head or, as in to allege, give everyday objects new names or, as in TITLE, resolutely rebuild your world using a wooden box, a panel, slats and ropes. You only have to look around with wonder. Breaking up routines of perception, use of space and the reception of outward appearances; recreating and redefining relations and patterns of recognition and classification – these have been Clément Layes’ main concerns since founding Public in Private in 2008. Maintaining the possibility of the utopian by means of disruptions that question linguistic and performance conventions and extend beyond the stage to the social and political spheres, he presents performance as a balancing act involving objects, bodies and thought, as an absurd and playful moment of amazement, verging on the surreal. This could be a too-short leg on a chair, as in Things that surround us, or the performers’ calm sweeping towards eternity as they trace ever more circle and spiral-shaped patterns in the sand-covered floor with their brooms. Clément Layes now wants to detach himself from the world of things and turn his wondering gaze to performance practices. Utopia is possible. You just have to dare to allow yourself the freedom to think it and live it.
Clément Layes has been living and working in Berlin as a choreographer and performer since 2008. Here, he founded the company Public in Private together with Jasna L. Vinovrski. His works, located at the intersection of choreography, visual arts and philosophy take observations from everyday life and common objects as their starting point. Following Allege (2010), to allege (2011), Der grüne Stuhl (2012), Things that surround us (2012) and dreamed apparatus (2014), Layes completed his performance cycle on the manmade world and things with the solo performance TITLE. His performances have been presented in numerous venues across the world.