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La Biennale di Venezia

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Biennale Danza 2019

Steven Michel - Théo Mercier

Silver Lion

Award Ceremony

Friday 21 June 2019, 12:00 noon
Ca’ Giustinian, Venice

Steven Michel
Théo Mercier

La Biennale di Venezia has attributed the Silver Lion award to French artists Steven Michel and Théo Mercier.

Steven Michel – who studied mime, dance, percussions – and Théo Mercier – trained in the visual arts and theatre direction – have found a common ground for experimentation in the intersection between art and choreography, the result of similar construction processes, but using different instruments, on the one side the body, on the other, objects.

As the motivation states “Steven Michel and Théo Mercier are two committed young artists whose career we should pay great attention to. They come from a generation of creators who love to collaborate with others and move from project to project. Both create choreographic mise-en-scènes in which they explore the material of our culture, our space and our time. The bodies become objects and the objects move towards embodied, material, violent thought. These "plastic choreographer-artists" offer us strange parties, where the truth of falsity and the falsity of truth trigger thoughtful landscapes, devoid of nature, a new, crude, enchantment”.

Biographical Notes

Steven Michel (Saint-Marcellin, 1986) studied mime and the circus arts, dance and percussions. From 2006 to 2010 he lived in Brussels, where he attended and graduated from Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker's P.A.R.T.S. (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios). Bringing together his musical and choreographic training, he created Even but Odd with Nicholas Aphane, focused on the rhythm and percussion of the body, followed by the solo piece The Desert of Milestones. In 2012 he was at the Dansenhus in Stockholm where he worked with Marcus Baldermar on Model, a reference to the French film director Bresson.

As a dancer he has worked with choreographers, theatre directors and filmmakers – David Zambrano Falk Richter, Lukas Dhont, Daniel Linehan, Maud Le Pladec – as well as plastic artists such as Théo Mercier and Sarah & Charles. Since 2012 he has collaborated regularly with Belgian choreographer Jan Martens.

In 2016 he created the solo They Might be Giants, which explores the relationship between artificial and natural, animate and inanimate, material and immaterial.

He is currently organizing a series of workshop-performances for artists from different disciplines, to experiment with approaches and instruments that are very distant from one another and challenge the boundaries imposed between the various art forms.


Théo Mercier (Parigi, 1984) studied at the École nationale supérieure de création industrielle in Paris and at the Universität der Künste Berlin. With Bernhard Willhelm he worked on a collection of stage costumes for Björk before he moved to New York (2008) and became an assistant to Matthew Barney for the project River of Fundament1. He returned to France in 2009, and pursued his personal artistic career developing a recognizable and original language that found space in solo and collective exhibitions in Europe, Asia and America, shown at the Palais de Tokyo and the Centre Pompidou in Paris, at the Moscow Biennale and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Germany.

Since 2014 Théo Mercier has also pursued his work as a director in the area of live performance, creating Du futur faisons table rase and Radio Vinci Park. An associated artist at the Théatre des Amandiers since 2017, Théo Mercier created La Fille du collectionneur (supported by "La Fondation d’entreprise Hermès" as part of its program «New Settings») and Affordable Solution for Better Living. His productions have been presented at the Nanterre-Amandiers Theatre, La Villette and La Ménagerie de verre in Paris, at Usine C in Montréal, The Invisible dog Art Center in New York, Festival Actoral de Marseilles, Bonlieu Scène nationale Annecy, Dampfezentrale in Bern, Vooroit Center21 and Campo di Gand, Théâtre de Vidy in Lausanne and La Bâtie-Festival in Geneva.

In his works, he develops a critical analysis that weaves together anthropology, ethnography, geo-politics and tourism. Between his choreographic performances and his research into various materials, he is both a creator and a collector at the same time, involved in an intense dialogue between past, present and future, between animate and inanimate, truth and lies, craft and industry, sacred and profane, real and imaginary.

He lives and works between Paris and Mexico.

Biennale Danza
Biennale Danza