Éric Minh Cuong Castaing

Young Creators Exhibitions
Life Form(s)
  • © Éric Minh Cuong Castaing / Victor Zébo / Cie Shonen, 2021

  • © Éric Minh Cuong Castaing / Victor Zébo / Cie Shonen, 2021

  • Vue de l’exposition Forme(s) de vie d’Éric Minh Cuong Castaing, LE BAL, 2021 © Marc Domage

  • © Éric Minh Cuong Castaing / Victor Zébo / Cie Shonen, 2021

  • Vue de l'exposition Forme(s) de vie, LE BAL, 2021 © Marc Domage

  • © Éric Minh Cuong Castaing / Victor Zébo / Cie Shonen, 2021

At the crossroads of choreography and caregiving, Life Form(s) by Éric Minh Cuong Castaing puts on stage bodies with disabilities, to which he offers the means to reappropriate, for a time, the movements and gestures of which they have been deprived.

It was in 2019 that Éric Minh Cuong Castaing completed a first stage of work with the residents of La Maison de Gardanne, a palliative care centre for patients at end of life. These included Kamal, a former boxer who had suffered a cerebrovascular accident, as well as Annie, Martial, Bruno, and Soizic, all four afflicted with a neurodegenerative disease. Later on, through the Festival de Marseille, he met Élise, a dancer with Parkinson’s disease, who was incorporated into the project. Along with Marine Relinger (playwright), Aloun Marchal (co-choreographer), and the dancers Nans Pierson, Yumiko Funaya, Yoshiko Kinoshita and Jeanne Colin, Éric Minh Cuong Castaing has imagined a set of “choreographic situations”: scores adapted to the particular bodies of the participants and written on the basis of their own narratives and singularities.

Dance is mobilized here for its capacity to produce ways of life, to model the body and create a work from existence itself. The performers become artisans of their own selves and poets of their own gestures. No heroism, however, no sublimation of pain, though it remains a question of surpassing oneself, of going beyond oneself, to the point of metamorphosis, of recovering possibilities: for Élise, walking, maintaining her balance, and even waltzing; for Kamal, striking blows in the air and projecting himself through space.

Since a way of life is also a question of image, of one’s self-image and of the image one projects at others, the filming of their choreography, undertaken by Victor Zébo, completes the process, giving it a temporal and visual framework. Captured mainly at La Maison de Gardanne and in a nature reserve on the outskirts of Marseille, the images present these bodies freed of their clinical paraphernalia as they sculpt, through corporeal expression, a way of being alive.

The deliberately frontal view leads the spectators to engage with the performers, right at their sides, close to the movements being followed, in a sort of promiscuity with the languor of their gestures, their hesitations, and their audacity. Observed through the lens of the camera, the bodies invite a curious, but not a voyeuristic, gaze, a gaze imbued with empathy but not with pity, which finally ceases to regard what it is seeing through the reductive prism of disabilities, though never allowing these to be ignored. It is a gaze that brings out the performers’ desire to render themselves intensely present, offering them the possibility of dancing as they live, between strength and fragility.

— Florian Gaité

Éric Minh Cuong Castaing is the winner of the Le Prix LE BAL de la Jeune Création 2021.

His project has received the support of the French Ministry of Culture, logo_ministere_culture.jpg and the Cercle des 100 Amis Mécènes of Le Bal and logo ADAGPlogo copie privée


A publication with an unpublished text by Florian Gaité and an interview with Éric Minh Cuong Castaing and Victor Zébo by Smaranda Olscèse-Trifan, will accompany the exhibition.




Go further