During this “journey across appearances” (…), the visitor stumbles upon Killing Alice, an array of phantasmagoric if not spooky installations put together by Violaine Fimbel and Marjan Kunaver. This work from 2017 was originally designed for the show Possession, which related how Antonin Artaud accused Lewis Caroll of plagiarizing him “prefiguratively” when he discovered Alice Through the Looking Gass.
One foot onstage, the other on the studio, Violaine Fimbel wavers when asked how to define herself: “ I see myself both as a puppeteer and a visual artist who connected with magic, first intuitively and then more consistently when I joined the 10th class of the CNAC (New magic major). However, I’m still struggling to define an art form that for me ranges from wonder to fear, and essentially revolves around dreams.”
Violaine Fimbel in Wonderland
To enter the workshop of the Yôkaï company, just off the place Ducale, is to take a trip through the strange world of artist Violaine Fimbel. Here is a world of creepy creatures, such as an animated Alice whose blue eyes suddenly well up with black tears and whose face gradually morphs into a grimacing mask - an embodiment of the contamination of Lewis Caroll’s world by Antonin Artaud’s, the main theme of the show Possession. After graduating from ESNAM (National School of Puppetry Arts) in 2014, this young puppeteer and visual artist, who also received a training in new magic at the CNAC (Centre national des arts du cirque), started her own company. The name Yôkaï is a Japanese term meaning monster, and more broadly, a supernatural phenomenon or anything that is not human.
Originally from the Charleville-Mézières region, she decided to settle there to create her pieces informed by the uncanny, which so far include Volatil(es), Possession and Gimme Shelter. The latter is based off of a shorter version called Noctarium and is scheduled to be performed in its entirety at the 20th edition of FMTM in September 2019. In this former music store, Violaine Fimbel’s troupe, a four-piece group from France, Brazil, Slovenia and Germany, can tinker freely, build puppets of all shapes and sizes – including those original half-human half-animal creatures featured in the final Brecht-inspired show of the 10th ESNAM class – and make use of a stage to try out their shows in a “life-size” setting.
The young Yokaï Company will perform at the Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes de Charleville-Mézières. It proposes a fantastic and delirious universe between magic and illusion. Violaine Fimbel created this company 3 years ago, at the exit of ESNAM (National School of Puppetry Arts) of Charleville-Mézières. Violaine Fimbel offers a journey into a strange world tinged with creepiness. There will be lovers or haters but this show will leave no one cold.
Her work shows a body, the body of the early 20th century visionary theorist of theater Antonin Artaud, possessed by the words and creatures invented by the author of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll. A real event of his life that fascinated puppeteer Violaine Fimbel.
Hers is a fantastic and off the wall universe. At 28, Violaine Fimbel is a graduate of ESNAM (School of Puppetry Arts) in Charleville-Mézières. She decided to settle there and start her company, her performance room and her studio where many strange creatures are made.
The shows Possession and Killing Alice are featured in the official lineup of the Festival Mondial des théâtres de marionettes from September 18 through 21 in Charleville-Mézières.” (caveat: not for the faint of heart)