Defiantly unboxable, shamelessly subversive, disarmingly profound, truthful and vulnerable at once, Thierry Alexandre shatters the walls of traditionally unrelated art forms -fashion, poetry, song, sculpture, dance and innovative technologies- to create spellbinding, impossibly poetic, wholly universal pieces of art. Their innovative work unfailingly brings its viewers and audiences to contact their own emotional landscape, propelling us into a realm of wondrous visions, where sweet fantasy and bold reality fuse effortlessly. An irresistible call to action, Thierry’s all consuming mission is to engage, arouse, provoke, inspire and empower. Their unforgettable creations resonate deeply with the complexities of the human condition and the survival challenges we face as a species, while celebrating the tremendous potential for harmony, growth and transformation in the world.
Their mesmerising and boundary breaking Butoh performance art has been described as cathartic otherworldly spectacles of epic proportions: Thierry's immersive interventions channel intense power, raw emotional depth and unleash palpable healing forces through their mysterious, multiple on-stage metamorphoses.
The extension of their inclusive world vision tirelessly guides Thierry as the founder and co-creative force behind a number of artistic and social projects:
• Crème Anglaise: An eclectic artist collective looking at new ways of being, connecting and creating.
• SOUL (Sanctuary Of Unlimited Love): A monthly creative meditation and self healing group
• Cuckoo Club: A physical comedy and modern clowning troupe
• Rhino Requiem: A ceremony based series of outdoor performance art honouring lost species
and the human need for grieving.
• Timebomb Theatre: A multimedia, genre defying theatrical company delivering avant garde interventions to 21st century audiences.
• Cage Royale Events: “An infrequent flocking of barely sane, totally unorthodox beauties; these gatherings become live Fellini movies, choreographed by Baz Luhrman on a GHB bender!”
Beige Magazine Interview and 4 page Feature (Transcript Below)
INTERVIEW ABOUT GROWING UP AND LIVING AS A GENDER NON CONFORMING INDIVIDUAL IN 2018
COMPLETE 35 MINUTES INTERVIEW
INTERVIEW BY BBC RADIO WORLD SERVICES ON FANCY DRESS (LIVE)
WRITTEN INTERVIEW ABOUT BUTOH DANCE AND INSPIRATION FOR EDINBURGH FESTIVAL SHOW
BBC DOCUMENTARY ON LONDON LIFE, SUBCULTURE AND CLUB SCENES (2004)
"CHANGING MINDS" DOCUMENTARY:
The experiences of the LGBTQ+ and mental health
Transcript from Beige Magazine Interview
by Martin Green
1. What was your path to becoming a performance artist, and why did you choose London as your home.?
Choosing London was a case of going to my village library, finding a copy of Spartacus and working out where the world's gay capital was. At the time both London and San Francisco were really it and I only had about 50 quids savings so London it was, by default! Those aren't really the reasons I stayed for the last 18 years though: I have found the UK a much more suited place to my style and aspirations, enjoying the kindness and considerate approach of the Brits, their quirkiness, their love for eccentricity and originality and their embracing of spirituality at large.
As a kid there were not many opportunities to express myself the way I needed to, so by the time I became free to do that and arrived in London I had this real creative fire burning in me! I had always been fascinated by french drag queens of the 80s who wore fantastic clown like make up, enormous wigs and 2 feet tall platform shoes... They looked so otherworldly, glamourous and beautiful to me... So my beginnings were in the London nightclubs, notably Heaven for a couple of years with my friend Burnel, aka Transformer. He taught me loads on costume making, stage props, recyclable art and transformation make-up, and became my strongest influence for many years to come. After some time doing the party scene, I took up dance and theatre classes and my creativity exploded in all sorts of ways: painting, jewellery making, fashion and installations. Eventually I came accross Butoh dance, an abstract contemporary movement form from Japan, and realised that was exactly what I needed, and trained for 10 years with various masters from Japan: I had found the medium through which I could express much more than mere visual extravaganzas, but also a wide emotional and spiritual palette. That's when everything came together with the wearable art and kinetic costumes, their interaction with the elements, the body and its movement.
2. How different do you find the responses to yourself and your work between the English and the French?
Very. Although the response I get will vary across this country too, there seems to be an element of fascination and deep respect for what I do and what I am here. I think people in England are hungry for something different, something new and real, genuine, kind and exciting. I also think most men are craving to become more in touch with their feminine side and when they see my androgynous flamboyant creature they look with great curiosity, envy even at times. Society has mostly become very normalised and predictable in what it does, and it wants to break free from that mold but may not be sure how to yet... I like to think I will inspire others by being as true to myself as possible and give people permission to be different by doing just that in my own life.
As for the French, well just like here in the UK and other countries, originality does not prevail there. I don't think the French are too sure about me because I'm pretty unboxable. They usually want to know whether I should be considered a fashion designer or a costume artiste, where I've studied, what these weird dance moves are about, whether a piece of work should be classed as jewellery or a sculpture, and if a sculpture, then why am I wearing it on my head? The french have many great qualities but it is still a fairly conservative society in some ways. The way French and English minds operate are pretty different really, and that may always be the case because of Britain being an island.
3. Where do you draw inspiration from?
Pretty much from everywhere and nowhere! As a very visual individual I absorb everything around me it seems. It could be images online, exhibitions, museums, fashion, films, experimental music, random people or a press cutting and then at night my brain wants to reshuffle all that information, picks out the fun bits and creates a new combination somehow. My main source of fascination however lies in our wonderful planet and its awe inspiring processes, so the Elements, Nature, Life and Death, birth and decay are themes I explore over and over again as they never cease to delight and move me.
4. Which other artists excite and inspire you?
There are so many! They are not all visual artists either but all have outstanding gifts and skills, and above all are extraordinarily beautiful human beings. Among them I admire the music of Sainkho Namtchylak, Brahms and Stockhausen, as well as the awesome Grace Jones whose stage persona is so unique, the life and photographs of Giles Dudey and Hans Breder, the philosophy and work of Andy Goldsworthy, Andrew Logan and Theo Jansen, and of course the sensational creations of Philip Treacy. In Dance and Performance, there are plenty of Japanese Butoh Dancers that I find thrilling, particularly Atsushi Takenouchi and Carlotta Ikeda, and closer to home there's Pina Bausch, DV8 and les ballets C de la B. However, my true heroes have always been those who put everything they have on the line in the name of human rights and freedoms, think gay activists in Africa and Russia, Aung Saan Su Kyi in Burma or Peter Tatchell in the UK.
5. What projects are you currently working on?
I am preparing a series of wearable sculptures based on Elizabethan Gowns and created exclusively from natural elements like leaves, seeds, bark, bones and stones. The Ocean Dress has just been completed and features hundreds of shells, seagull feathers and seaweeds beach combed over the years.
I'm also experimenting with large scale hanging mobiles in which I will be performing and more kinetic dance sculptures. There's a french cabaret and a short film about my clubbing days in the pipeline too...
6. Can you tell me about the working process to create your elaborate performance pieces.?
It's quite organic really, and often a fairly cathartic experience too! I don't use sketchbooks or drawings much and an idea can be maturing in my head for years while going through the various stages of problem solving, experimenting and re adaptation. My studio is a bit like a science lab, with minerals cooking on a stove, newts hatching in one corner and road kills decaying at the back... I like to play and experiment, try new things and break boundaries like a child would do naturally. If I'm told something won't work or you can't do that with such material, I'll rush home and try it out. There's a fair amount of research going on as well on the side and then there's just good old fashioned hard work and focus, forgetting about eating or sleeping and getting on with it until the magic happens. Every so often something goes quite wrong or there's a terrible accident and that's when some of my most exciting pieces and discoveries were born!
7. Where in the world would you most desire to perform your work?
I've always wanted to choreograph something in Stonehenge, but there is this incredible place in Palermo called Catacombe Dei Cappuccini, a 16th century burial catacomb with 8000 mummies that line the walls (some beautifully preserved), and halls divided into categories: men, women, children, priests etc, with some of them set in poses or requiring regular changes of outfit as per the will of the deceased! That place represents for me one of the greatest human obsessions of needing to be remembered somehow, and the poetic fine line between life and death, beauty and ugly, presence and absence.