As part of the world figure skating championships, the president of the French Federation of Ice Sports (FFSG), Nathalie Péchalat, invited the artist Pierre Larauza to exhibit his sculpture “February 20, 1998, Nagano” (one of the works that he produced as part of his research “Documentary Sculptures”).
The documentary sculpture “February 20, 1998, Nagano” recreates life-size the famous backward somersault of French figure skater Surya Bonaly during the Olympic Games in Nagano. A feat which has since become for many the icon of the struggle of a woman, a minority or a difference. Note that Surya Bonaly will be the godmother of these next World Championships.
During the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, French skater Surya Bonaly defies the members of the jury by performing a backward somersault prohibited in competition. A prodigious movement that she symbolically offers to the public. Although in reality she is not breaking the rules by landing on one leg, she will nonetheless be relegated to eleventh place in the long program. Since then, no athlete, female or male has achieved this extreme fgure in competition.
In addition, Surya Bonaly remains the only person to have accomplished a backward somersault by landing on one foot, giving his surname to this jump: the “Bonaly”. This move that will close her competitive career is the symbolic gesture of a black athlete in one of the whitest sports there is. A sport in which she never ceased to try to push the limits but where her athletic style and her musculature, marked by her origins as a gymnast, did not espouse the canons of beauty in force at the time in skating. artistic.
In line with the work of the French Etienne-Jules Marey or the British photographer Eadweard Muybridge, famous for their research on the decomposition of movement, the conception of the sculpture February 20, 1998, Nagano requested an extremely precise analysis of the movement carried out by Surya Bonaly . The trajectory of the ice skates was broken down into a series of positions in three-dimensional space (and time) before being materialized again within the work.
Pierre Larauza is the artistic director and co-founder of the Belgian-based contemporary dance company t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e with the dancer and choreographer Emmanuelle Vincent. Since 2003, they have explored the movement through contemporary hybrid forms, crossing disciplines in a multicultural approach. Their performances and films have been performed or exhibited worldwide in more than 26 countries.
Currently Php student at Université Libre de Bruxelles and Paris 1, his areas of study are “Artistic practice of historical reenactment”, “Choreographic immersion in museums” and what he calls “Documentary sculpture”: his main research where he develops in sculpture the reenactments of historical body movements (sport movement or human interest stories).
Larauza’s first publication is currently being published: an article dedicated to the analysis the contemporary museum mutation through four choreographic variations experimented at the Hô-chi-minh-city Museum of Fine Arts in Vietnam. A second article in progress is about the syncretic dimension that Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Films Stills (1977-1980) maintains on several levels with cinema.
Beside his creations and theoretical researches, Larauza is also co-founder of Máy xay sinh tố, an interdisciplinary and transcultural laboratory based in Vietnam founded in 2016 with the artists Emmanuelle Vincent and Thy Nguyen Truong Minh in association with the University of Fine Arts in Hô Chi Minh City and more recently the art school ERG.
Researcher, sculptor, set designer, choreographer, filmmaker or even performer, Larauza’s roles intertwine and the concept of specialization gradually fades away to nourish his interest for in(ter)disciplinary approach. Hybridity imposes itself naturally in Larauza’s practice and theoretical research.
30 août 1991, Tokyo – Pierre Larauza @ La Nuit Blanche Paris (Fr)
Des mouvements que je n’aurais jamais pu faire – Pierre Larauza ! | Tour à plomb (Be)
Focus t.r.a.n.s.i.t.s.c.a.p.e – Exposition + événement – Jacques Franck (Be)
Surya Varuna Claudine Bonaly (born 15 December 1973) is a French retired competitive figure skater. She is a three-time World silver medalist (1993–1995), a five-time European champion (1991–1995), the 1991 World Junior Champion, and a nine-time French national champion (1989–1997).
Bonaly is the only Olympic figure skater to land a backflip on only one blade; she performed it at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
With this research, the French artist develops a three-dimensional work deeply rooted in reality: a process that he qualifies as “documentary sculpture”. This critical work of investigation of reality takes the form of life-size historical reconstructions reproducing the trajectory of mass-mediatized physical movements that have particularly marked him: from a cult sporting gesture to a racist police blunder. Iconic movements symbols of invincibility, inventiveness, iniquity or even prohibition. According to a process of decomposition of the movement and a work of investigation (meeting of the protagonists, analysis of archives…), his works freeze in space-time an emblematic second of these events. Whether it is a record movement, a choreographic invention, a forbidden movement or a racist movement, these sculptures evolve over the course of the investigations carried out, transforming the works into processes and, conversely, these processes. in works.
Attached to the participatory dimension for some of his works, Pierre Larauza has, for example, created for the city of Brussels a lasting urban sculpture at the crossroads of art, sport and documentary. Inaugurated in September 2021 in the presence of Mike Powell, this artworks allows everyone to measure themselves against the excess of the long jump world record.
Pierre Larauza is also involved in university research: his doctoral thesis in Art and Art Sciences thus questions the intersection between sculpture and a documentary approach. Through the hypothesis of a “neo-factual plastic narrative”, he analyzes the aesthetic and critical issues of such a three-dimensional practice of investigating reality.
Pierre Larauza has also published on the spectatorial hybridity of dance in the museum (Geuthner, 2019) or on the syncretic approach of Cindy Sherman (Koregos, 2020). Speaking outside the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels (modules 2016 and 2018), he has also been involved since 2016 in a transcultural project in Vietnam whose ambition is to build a long-term base of experiences and of non-ethnocentric reflections. In this context, he gives installation and sculpture workshops at the University of Fine Arts in Ho Chi Minh City.