There are so many reasons today to examine the significance of the work created by Alain Buffard. A dancer and successor of the major choreographic figures of the 1980s, Buffard is one of those who have experienced the onset of AIDS
as a key event. Battling disease, his story and personal mythologies of his own entwined throughout his pieces, exhibitions and films, he has delved into a number of issues particular to his time. Through both a radical nature and some fruitful questioning, his works, from Good Boy
to Baron Samedi
, have contributed to the revival of the French scene.
This kaleidoscopic book brings together rich testimonies, a large iconography and many unpublished archive documents. It sheds light on the journey, the work and the thought of a complex artist, both assertive and secret, without reducing his many faces.
We discover Buffard bouncing about, a young boy still, and later, a man with invisible scars. Here, he is seen playing with neon, in the likes of Bruce Nauman, or, captured naked, searching for his dance amongst the Sea Ranch sequoias. Elsewhere, entirely in words, he unveils a broad questionnaire used as support to better exist on Earth or to identify what one is able to give, as an artist and a performer, to the piece to come. Here, he is conversing, out loud or in silence, with his partner Alain Ménil, the researcher Laurence Louppe or the dancer-choreographer Anna Halprin. There, some sharp reflections on how to learn and how to emancipate. And then, it is the absent Buffard whose place is taken, post mortem, in order to pass on his work.
Through offering some analyses, direct trails of the choreographer's thinking and working methods but also a wide variety of documents, may this book fuel the desire to keep questioning a great work and nurture admiration for a good boy. And propose a sort of broken-up portrait of an ever-living complexity, ever open to interpretation, ever enriched by unresolved interrogations to the world and therefore, to ourselves.