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The term Yokai refers to a Japanese monster and means, in its broadest sense, a supernatural phenomenon / whatever is not human.


The technical research and artistic exploration – at the intersection of puppetry and magic – has been geared toward interrogating the boundary between humanness and the supernatural creature.


After graduating from ESNAM in October 2014, Violaine Fimbel started the company Yôkaï, touring the first show VOLATILE(S) in Finland, Germany, Brazil, Japan and Avignon (France).


The company’s artistic identity is characterized by unsettling atmospheres and fantastic forms originating from Violaine Fimbel’s imagination or drawn from visual arts (cinema, painting, sculpture, illustration, etc.) and literature.


In order to develop her instinctive approach to magic, which is present in her first show, Violaine Fimbel attended the New Magic training led by Raphael Navarro and Valentine Losseau – from the 14:20 company – at CNAC. There she discovered a medium and an anthropological approach that mirrored her own research and gave her the theoretical background to support her instinctive process.


POSSESSION, the company’s second work, from 2017, intertwines the worlds of Lewis Carroll and Antonin Artaud in a game of double intellectual and psychological possession. The show, which caught the attention of the company 14:20, performed at the “New Magic young talents” night at Théâtre du Rond-Point in 2018, and led to the installation KILLING ALICE.


The show GIMME SHELTER, explores the supernatural and the line between reality and fantasy. The show premiered in 2019 at the World Puppet Theater Festival in Charleville-Mézières and Manège de Reims-Scène Nationale where Violaine was also supported artist for two seasons.


Violaine Fimbel designs and creates the puppets that appear on stage. Her creative process is geared towards one particular goal : to confuse the audience’s perception constantly by intertwining magic with puppetry. In 2020, she and device fabricator Marjan Kunaver initiated a research program connecting the special effects of film with puppetry and magic onstage. The project, whose research and creative focus is invisible puppetry, is called INVISIBLE AWAKENING.

In 2023, the show Nature Morte-Still Life was created from the novel Against Nature (A Rebours) by JK Huysmans. 

© Justine Maillard

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