Direction, choregraphy & scenography

Josef Nadj



Anne-Sophie Lancelin, Josef Nadj


Original music

Alain Mahé

assisted by Pascal Seixas



Alain Mahé or Pascal Seixas



Aleksandra Pešić



László Dobó


Set construction

Clément Dirat, Julien Fleureau



Centre chorégraphique national d’Orléans, Jel – Színház



Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre de la Ville, Le CENTQUATRE – Paris, Governo do Portugal – secrétariat d’Etat à la culture, Teatro Nacional de São João – Porto



DRAC Centre, Région Centre, Ville d’Orléans, Résidence Sainte-Cécile (Orléans), la Société Générale


Thanks to

Milena STOICEVIC – Quadriennale de Prague  (République  Tchèque),  Regional  Creative  Atelier – Kanjiza (Serbie), Kiosk – Belgrade (Serbie)



Festival d’Avignon, 12th july 2012



75 min


The first challenge in Atem is its scenography: a small theatre where the audience is represented by seven rows of seating, accomodating about sixty people, while the stage consists of an elevated “black box” of small size (four meters wide and three meters deep), a cramped parallelepiped whose apparent simplicity masks the presence of escape hatches, openings, passages, niches or false bottoms. A construction both spectacular and intimate, which encompasses the audience and immediately raises two questions. One concerns the relationship between the two dancers, “how to occupy and inhabit such a small space together?” The second is based on the stage-audience relationship resulting from this particular scenography, specifically concerning proximity as a condition of viewing. Which is magnified because the lighting – exclusively by candlelight – forces the viewer to the most extreme attentiveness.


From these concrete specifics, these material choices and the reflection they provoked, Josef Nadj decided to focus on “details, objects, clues, and small signs” to revive and extend a few recurring issues from his artistic universe – the exploration of materials and their transformation, the reference to natural elements and the cosmos, and last and above all the question of time, cyclic or linear, whose “inexorable passage clashes with eternity.”
The second challenge Josef Nadj has launched with Atem is a sort of return to the sources of his artistic inspiration, in addressing for the first time the work of two artists who have always “accompanied” him, Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528) – specifically his engravings, and the poet Paul Celan, the rereading of whom during the creation of this new work led Josef to catch sight of multiple echoes or extensions in the poems to Dürer’s engravings.


An exercise in lucidity, in unveiling, Atem proposes a reading of one of Dürer’s major works, Melencolia I (1514), a copper engraving of great complexity which has been, and remains to this day, “subject to infinite interpretations” (H. Wölfflin). There is of course nothing didactic in the light Josef Nadj sheds on this work – for him the question is to “gather” elements, isolate them, move them around, recombine and bring them into resonance with details found or borrowed from other prints by Dürer, as well as with the verses of Paul Celan, composing a new image, moving and living, a tableau in which movement challenges vision, while simultaneously revealing it, a guide for the eye.


Myriam Bloedé, translated into English by David Vaughn

History :


16-19 avril 2014

Pavillon Noir

Aix en Provence (FR)


20-24 novembre 2013

L’Arsenal, Biennale de danse en Lorraine

Metz (FR)


15-17 novembre 2013

Théâtre de l’Archipel, Scène Nationale

Perpignan (FR)


3-28 avril 2013

Le Centquatre

Paris (FR)


15-19 janvier 2013

Théâtre de l’Union, CDN

Limoges (FR)


12-16 décembre 2012

Scène Nationale

Orléans (FR)


21-25 novembre 2012


Porto (PT)


2-4 novembre 2012

Associazione Teatrale Emilia Romagna

Reggio Emilia (IT)


21-27 juillet 2012

Saint Saturnin-lès-Avignon, Festival d’Avignon

Avignon (FR)


12-18 juillet 2012

Salle polyvalente de Saze, Festival d’Avignon

Avignon (FR)