Audiences are invited to embark on a bus tour around Red Hook harbor in Brooklyn led by Philippe Quesne, who will use his position as tour guide to encourage the group to shift their attention to the poetic or strange elements in the landscape, including a particular focus on the Manhattan skyline as seen from afar. Eventually arriving at an unusual, highly theatrical location, the group - now in a state of heightened awareness - will gradually become immersed in a series of tableaux vivants prepared by the artist.
A word from the curator: "I feel Philippe is known best in New York for his anti-spectacular, tongue-in-cheek theater but here with Bivouac he'll show another aspect of his peculiar poetic world. And Red Hook with its particular atmosphere is the best location for this." - Charles Aubin
These are staged as both adventures and as opportunities for Quesne to document images of curious audiences looking for meaning. Quesne's performances investigate the powers of rumor and mythology that surround events, and often contrast atmospheres of mystery and magic with moments of mundanity and awkwardness. This theatrical experiment plays on the fine line between fiction and reality, seducing audiences into an alternative understanding of their environment.
Bivouac is a Performa Premiere curated by Charles Aubin. Co-presented with Pioneer Works, Center for Art and Innovation.
Performa is the only biennial dedicated to commissioning, presenting and exploring new visual art performance across disciplines.
About the artist
Philippe Quesne (b. 1970, Paris) studied visual arts and graphic design at l’école estienne and set design at l’école des Arts Décoratifs de Paris.
For the past ten years he has designed for theater, opera, and contemporary art exhibitions. Quesne conceived, directed, and designed the set for La Démangeaison des Ailes (The itching of the Wings, 2003), Des Expériences (an evolving project set in diverse spaces such as an art gallery, a forest, a pond, and a wasteland from 2004 to 2006), D’après Nature (2006), L’Effet de Serge (2007), La Mélancolie des dragons (2008), Big Bang (2010), and Swamp Club (2013). Since 2004, his company Vivarium Studio has produced and presented in France and abroad. View its website here.
Quesne has also created site-specific projects, such as Pour en finir avec les simulateurs (2004), Échantillons (2006), Point de vue (2007), and Groupuscule (2007). He is the editor of three booklets as well: A few actions in natural environments (2005), Simple thoughts about the presence of nature in urban environments (2006), and Thinking about the end of the world in costume by the sea (2009).