7 – 11 September | 5.30 – 10.30 pm
13 – 18 September | 10 am – 6 pm
Mattatoio – Padiglione 9b

Gisèle Vienne

40 Portraits (2003—2008)

The color of anguish. Pallor, glazed eyes staring blankly, faces motionless, sometimes with bloodstains or tears, come to life in a teenage attitude, voices muffled – all clues hinting at a culture of violence, repressed yet haunting our myths of innocence and purity bathed in white.
What can Gisèle Vienne’s dolls tell us about ourselves, about you? What tales are told? Tales of defilement, of injury, dolls disfigured by indifference, desire, and salacious laughter. Can they force us to look at what is in front of us, to hear, to believe? For the dolls are so white, that the color of anguish grabs us by the throat, twists our guts.
—Elsa Dorlin

40 Portraits (2003-2008) is the exhibition of portraits by Gisèle Vienne that accompanies Short Theatre 2022 throughout its entire duration.
The installation presents photographs of the silent faces of the dolls created by the artist since 2003, in their suspension between childhood and adulthood, between living and inanimate bodies. Dolls are not inert objects but presences that crowd the imaginary of her theatrical works, which, in this photographic series, become ambiguous posing figures. They are sad Lolitas, sometimes covered in heavy make up, who turn into androgynous beings until they become simulacra of death.
40 Portraits (2003-2008) places viewers and spectators in a complicit condition: voyeurism becomes here a trap for a direct confrontation with the scabrous object of our imagination that invites us to come to terms with the forms of domination that cradle us.

The installation will be inaugurate on the 6th of September at 7pm during the Opening of Short Theatre 2022.


40 Portraits (2003—2008) is part of
PRISMA – Inventory of Shimmers
Gisèle Vienne in the city of Rome

6—18 September


Gisèle Vienne is a Franco-Austrian artist, choreographer and director. After graduating in Philosophy, she studied at the puppeteering Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette. She works regularly with the writer Dennis Cooper, and with other artistic figures including the recently deceased Austrian composer of experimental electronic music, Peter Rehberg (aka Pita).
Over the past 20 years, her work has been touring in Europe and regularly performed in Asia and in America, among which, I Apologize (2004), Kindertotenlieder (2007), Jerk (2008), This is how you will disappear (2010), LAST SPRING: A Prequel (2011), The Ventriloquists Convention (2015) in collaboration with Puppentheater Halle and Crowd (2017) and L’Etang (The Pond) (2020). In 2020, she created with Etienne Bideau-Rey the fourth version of Showroomdummies at the Rohm Theater Kyoto, originally created in 2001 and in 2021 she directed the movie Jerk.
Gisèle Vienne has frequently been exhibiting her photographs in museums among which the New York Whitney Museum, the Centre Pompidou, the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Buenos Aires and Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. She has published two books: JERK / Through Their Tears and 40 PORTRAITS 2003-2008 (2012). Her work has led to various publications and the original music of her shows to several albums.


photographs Gisèle Vienne
creation of puppets Gisèle Vienne, Dorothéa Vient-Polak, Raphaël Rubbens
production DACM / Company Gisèle Vienne

publication «40 portraits, 2003—2008», published by P.O.L / February 2012

DACM / Compagnie Gisèle Vienne is supported by Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels
Gisèle Vienne is an associated artist at the CN D Centre national de la danse and at the Théâtre National de Bretagne. As from 2023 Gisèle Vienne will be associated artist at MC2 Grenoble

supported by Institut français, Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati
in collaboration with Mattatoio di Rom / Azienda Speciale Palaexpo

ph. Gisèle Vienne