Kuva: Nurith Wagner Strauss

Béatrice Didier: In silence (BE)

In a world where all can change overnight, can we, face to face, eye to eye, one to one, experiment being in the present moment and discover who we are through each other?
As our body is the place and time of our human condition ( D. Le Breton )
Kuva: Luis Alvarez

In 2011, in the context of a event called Thank you for the days, I locked my face in rubber bands facing a mirror visible through the gallery window. During the performance my face was reflected in that of the audience. This led me to a disorder to be explored years later. 

In 2021, in the context of the festival Pssst Silence and during the covid period, I explored the notion of silence for 8 hours, without any audience except one photographer, in the attic of an empty house. It was called A day in silence.

Two months later, in the same house, for the end of a collective exhibition, I decided to go back to what was done during the event in 2011, with all words “silence” cutted during the Psst silence days, and inviting spectators one by one for what I called A day in silence II

In june 2022, in the context of The Non fungible Body Festival in Linz, which was taken place in a museum, I have decided to continue this exploration.. From 4 to 7pm, during two days… I was sitting in silence in front of a special mirror, by writing silence on a miror table. Each visitor was invited to sit in front of traces of past performances in Linz and/or in front of me, by looking to each other….

In april 2023, in the context of a collective residency in Ishinomaki, which was seriously devasted by the tsunami in 2021… I wanted to continue this exploration in a café with the mirror. Because of technical problem, I had to change of concept in the last minute.  Audience was invited to sit, to look at some foto from , to  listen to japanese radio news from 2011, to hold hands, to kiss plastic covid window, to write on window in memory of what each has gone trough/experienced/lost. This performance, one to one, was called: Ishinomaki…11.02.2011….20.04.2023     

Next week, i’m going in residency to Frameries to do some research about the region at the time of coal mining. On the last day, I will share the work done with the spectators. I hope, on this occasion, to also have an encounter with this mirror…. 

The birth process of your work?

Maybe, on some one way,  this specific work comes from the project Into Your Arms, one of my first solo project during which I was asking to people, one by one, to take me in their arms. One step of this project brought me to be taken in arms of a woman in a jail in Ranchi. This encounter brought me later to this erformance with rubber bands which brought me to this performance with mirror….

Kuva: Robert Maybach
Kuva: Luis Alvarez

What does one-to-one art bring to you as an artist?

In a world where the notion of otherness tends to disappear, where everything becomes capitalized, where art itself becomes a bankable object, the one to one art allows me to resist and develop what seems essential to me: the notion of presence and encounter, which make us human and which maintains the notion of life, the notion of non (or anti?) artificial intelligence.

The one to art also gives this opportunity to consider each person as unique and different. And that reminds me what is written on the wall of the Théâtre Océan Nord in Brussels. A phrase from Heiner Müller that often comes to mind: “Our task (or else everything else will be pure statistics and a computer affair) is to work on the difference.”

Who is the one you wish to experience your work?

A priori, I like to experiment my work with many different people. In this case, I think it is important for you to know that the encounter with the mirror can be psychologically disturbing for some people. 

Greetings from you, the artist, to the visitors of the festival 

Feel welcome, feel free to stay or leave. Feel alive here and now without phone, computer,….