Like a little cosmos taken from a Renaissance painting and bathed in chiaroscuro, Tête-à-tête is an experiential work halfway between object theatre, optical installation and existential tale. To experience it, the spectator must tuck his or her face inside a mask imbedded in a bare wall. The mask, in fact, is an exact copy of the face of the artist (and performer) through which the spectator looks as if through a keyhole. By blending their faces with that of the performer, the spectators watch as a scene involving a man and a variety of organic matter (firebrand, fire, rice paper, plaster mask, apple) plays out before them.
Equipped with a headset connected to an ambient sound system, the spectator is plunged into an immersive sound environment in which a young boy whispers the words of the poet Octavio Paz, "two bodies face to face (…)." According to the principles of anamorphosis, the single viewpoint offered to the watcher allows the artist to work the light and perspective of these living tableaus into a perfect trompe l'oeil. Using carefully calibrated lighting and high-precision optical elements, the spectator is made to face his or her own holographic reflection; as though invited to "come into my head," the spectator travels and slides between several layers of identity. The spectator is then unmasked. In the end, artist and spectator literally merge, as the artist enters the spectator's skin, gaze and expressions. Two faces blend together to create a third face. The illusion of being penetrated and inhabited by a foreign body is created. We walk out in silence, wondering whether we were truly touched… And yet we were – with just the fingertips.
Concept Stéphane Gladyszewski
Sound design Jean Sébastien Durocher
Performer Stéphane Gladyszewski
Artistic consultant Peter James
Assistants Emmanuel Proulx, Justine Ricard
Production Stéphane Gladyszewski
Executive producer and development DLD - Daniel Léveillé Danse
With the support of Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Canada Council for the Arts and Conseil des arts de Montréal
Created in 2012