The origin of the performance: the desire to undertake a phantasmagoric series of images from the sixteenth century and put them in direct confrontation with images of our own from today, in order to question self representation. What links, what differences exist between the art of these two periods?
There was a great rise in portrait painting during the Renaissance: where are we with the image of ourselves today? What particularly does it say have to say?
Does it's total commercialization bother us? Do we still see something in it? Do we not have to sometimes fight against a feeling of exasperation at always being seen, being there, being present, always having to provide an image?
Through the rehearsal process and the creation of the performance, it is this sentiment that imposes itself as the dominant color; it is seen through the lens of a kind of bewilderment, the ironic curiosity of contained sarcasm.
It's true that the sixteenth century fascinated us. And the mannerist painters who incarnate it, seem to us to have posed certain questions that vibrate in the present with a singular echo.
First, this paradoxical situation: to appear just after the simultaneous passage of three artists (Michael Angelo, Raphaël, Leonardo) each having helped to bring painting to its summit. What to do after them? What can one do after a genius has done it?
Bronzino, Pontormo, Rosso Fiorentino, Le Parmesan, Beccafumi, Titian, Primaticcio... all responded in very diverse and personal ways, with each working on an element of distortion, deformation, a subversive sophistication: the insensitive prolongation of forms, those of too long necks, a false gaze in an honest face, the unreal colors, the contradicting spaces, the uneven perspectives...
The world is strange; they paint its enigma and its extravagance.
Perhaps we have before us today a new avatar of mannerism, a multiple explosion of styles which don't stop coming back, like a wave receding from the beach, the obsessions of a century, at the center of which the reason for the real overlaps with the experience of a complexity.
Today Simonetta smiles out from her shortened eternity: she will traverse existence like a radiant shadow, illuminating Botticelli and consuming Piero di Cosimo. She lives in Chantilly, her portrait is turned to face the park, the tableau is in a good state.
Patrick Bonté • 1998