10 September | 5 pm
Villa Medici
talk + book presentation
in Italian and French with simultaneous translation

Gisèle Vienne | Piesandra Di Matteo | Barbara Leda Kenny | NERO

Plateaux fantasmatiques

talk with Gisèle Vienne
moderated by Piesandra Di MatteoBarbara Leda Kenny and NERO + presentation of Palcoscenici Fantasma: Gisèle Vienne (Short Books, NERO, 2022)

Villa Medici is the setting in which to delve into Gisèle Vienne’s work, direct dialogue with the artist who, in the last twenty years, has subverted the logics of meaning and feeling in theatre. Following the leads suggested by Plateaux fantasmatiques (Palcoscenici Fantasma), the first publication in Italian that traces the work of the French artist from the beginning until today, the meeting will also be an opportunity to discuss Bernard Vouilloux’s text, which arrives in Italy thanks to the collaboration between Short Theatre and NERO Editions. Bernard Vouilloux is a professor of French Literature at “La Sorbonne” University in Paris, he proposes a complete fresco on the artist dividing Vienne’s production according to four concepts – stage, stories, images and figures – so as to highlight the phantasmatic and visceral quality of Vienne’s dramaturgical constructions. Through psychoanalysis, linguistics and theatre ethnography from the early 20th century, the essay analyses the dramatic and impossible storylines staged with refined impalpability.

The talk will take place in the ProtoCAMPO pavilion designed for the Festival des Cabanes at Villa Medici by the French architectural firm WALD. This open-air architecture, consisting of a wooden structure on which an inflatable dome hangs, is located in the historic gardens of Villa Medici.

Plateaux fantasmatiques is part of
PRISMA – Inventory of Shimmers
Gisèle Vienne in the city of Rome

6—18 September


Palcoscenici Fantasma: Gisèle Vienne, by Bernard Vouilloux and translated by Edoardo Lazzari, is the first issue of the new Short Books publishing series that marks the collaboration between the festival and the publishing house NERO editions, aimed at the interweaving of aesthetics, critical thinking and performing arts’ practices.

Retracing the arc of her works, Bernard Vouilloux composes an artistic portrait of Gisèle Vienne, choreographer, puppeteer and visual artist who has radically reshaped the paradigms of the performance scene of recent years. Her works are assemblages in which laughter and abjection coexist, through a conception of the body as a territory of manipulation, in the fold between eroticism and violence. Interested in eroding the boundaries of representation, Vienne investigates organic-inorganic mixtures through scenic universes inhabited by dolls, those zoomorphic beings of popular folklore and humanoid robots.
Her production – installations, performances, shows, films, books – is characterized by a continuous variation of recurring issues that haunt consolidated imaginaries with hypothetical and disturbing narratives. On the threshold between perceived and imagined, Vienne creates atmospheres that collude with the ghosts of psychic life, so that doubt does not cease to contaminate reality.


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.


Anticipation of the Night is the discursive space that lights up every day in the late afternoon. For the full programme click here.

with the support of Institut français, Fondazione Nuovi Mecenati, Villa Medici

ph. Estelle Hanania