Yann Marussich

Yann Marussisch
© BAK / Charlotte Krieger

Yann Marussich

A personality of performance

Swiss Performing Arts Award 2022

Born in Geneva in 1966, Yann Marussich is a unique personality on the Swiss performance scene. Having trained as a dancer, he worked in various French companies between 1983 and 1988, while at the same time pursuing an interest in the martial arts, such as the Vietnamese Viet Vo Dao. In 1989 he joined Noemi Lapzeson and ADC (Association de la danse contemporaine) in setting up the company Vertical Danse in Geneva, and from 1993 to 2000 was artistic director of the Théâtre de l’Usine, where he organised the contemporary dance programme and sought out new forms of expression. Since 2000 he has been concentrating on performance art, but remains a multifaceted artist: a writer, engraver and draughtsman whose work is also shown in exhibitions. In 2008 he won the Prix Ars Electronica in the “hybrid art” category with “Bleu Remix”. Yann Marussich has been supported by the City of Geneva since 2011 under the terms of a promotion agreement.

His first, totally immobile performance “Bleu Provisoire” (2001), which he presented at the La Bâtie festival in Geneva, is typical of his artistic work: Yann Marussich focuses on the body’s inner workings and the mastery of motionlessness. For “Bleu Provisoire” his solution involved bodily fluids oozing from his body in the form of a blue-tinted liquid; preparations for the performance took two days. He often subjects his body to extremes and to pain, as with “Glassed” (2011), in which he attempts to extricate himself from a funnel-shaped collar filled with shards of glass weighing 25 kilograms. At the end of 2017, “12 minutes et 34 secondes pour battre la brèche” marked the start of a new performance cycle, “L’Homme Beton”, in which he experiments with cement to explore the body’s limits. It includes a series of video performances in which a naked Yann Marussich, with concrete on his feet, is seen in various landscapes.

Yann Marussich is a human book. The entire history of the performance is inscribed on his skin. For 20 years now, his dancer’s body has been bringing to the performing arts an art form devised by sculptors in the 1960s that was soon to revolutionise the world of theatre. In 2001, with “Bleu Provisoire”, Yann Marussich takes up where those neo-avant-gardes left off, reinventing forms, combining references, complicating protocols, always upsetting the status quo. Veering from homage to parody and from variation to pure creation, he still has the constantly renewed energy of those founders running through his veins.

Danielle Chaperon, Chair of the Theatre Jury, and Simone Toendury, member of the Dance Jury