Performance artist Phia Ménard is in a league of her own, having developed her own visual language beyond anything found in any school or pigeonhole. She started her career as a circus artist and in 1998 founded her company Non Nova with the aim of opening up the boundaries between juggling and pantomime on the one hand, and dance and theatre on the other, and in doing so, transforming them both. Ménard created part one of her Immoral Tales, Mother House, for documenta 14 in Kassel. Dressed like a sci-fi version of the goddess Athena, she recreates the Parthenon using pieces of cardboard. Her plan is to build a house for Europe, while at the same time highlighting how exposed homeless people and refugees are. Just as makeshift cardboard dwellings no longer offer any protection when the first rain shower comes, Ménard’s painstakingly created temple is also transient. A radical, powerful evening about humankind and our environment in the eternal cycle between dying and becoming.
- Artistic Team
Artistic direction, choreography, performance Phia Ménard Artistic Collaboration Jean-Luc Beaujault Music and sound space Ivan Roussel Stage managers Pierre Blanchet and Rodolphe Thibaud
Costumes Fabrice Ilia Leroy Technical manager Olivier Gicquiaud Co-direction, production, administration Claire Massonnet
Production assistant Clarisse Mérot Public relations Adrien Poulard Assistant touring coordinator Lara Cortesi
Executive Production Compagnie Non Nova Co-production documenta 14 - Kassel and Le Carré, Scène nationale et Centre d’Art contemporain of Château-Gontier Non Nova is subsidised by the Ministère de la Culture - DRAC Pays de la Loire, the Conseil Municipal de la Ville de Nantes, the Conseil Régional des Pays de la Loire, the Conseil Départemental de Loire-Atlantique, the Institut Français (France’s international cultural relations body) and the BNP Paribas Foundation. The Compagnie Non Nova / Phia Ménard is Artiste associée at the Malraux scène nationale (Chambéry, Savoie) and at the TNB, Centre Européen Théâtral et Chorégraphique de Rennes. The project Maison Mère has received a special support from the Institut Français and the City of Nantes.
Phia Ménard, born in 1971, is a French performance artist, juggler and director. She studied juggling techniques with Jérôme Thomas and founded the company Non Nova in 1998. For her solo Ascenseur, fantasmagorie pour élever les gens et les fardeaux she gained first recognition and critical acclaim. In 2008 Phia Ménard revealed her new identity and her decision to change sex. Her artistic career took a new direction with I.C.E., an artistic project consisting of a creative, intellectual and imaginative approach around the notion of transformation, erosion and the sublimation of natural matter and elements. Since then she created numerous pieces, like P.P.P, L’Après-midi d’un foehn and Vortex and toured through Europe and internationally. In January 2014, she received the decoration of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Her latest works include Les Os Noirs, the documenta 14 commission Contes Immoraux – Partie 1 : Maison Mère, Saison Sèche, and together with Christopher Rousset and the writer Eric Reinhardt Et in Arcadia Ego for the Opéra-Comique in Paris.
Compagnie Non Nova
The company was founded in 1998 by Phia Ménard with the desire to approach juggling from a different angle, through the scenic and dramaturgical structure of each piece. “Non nova, sed nove” (“Not new things, but in a new way.”) is the company’s founding precept. The many multidisciplinary projects of the company have brought together artists, technicians, thinkers from various horizons with diverse experiences. It is not a collective but a professional team, with Phia Ménard in charge of the artistic direction.