Scenography - Medici Residency

Olivier Vadrot

Olivier Vadrot

02/10/2023 / 03/11/2023
Start of residency 02/10/2023
End of residency 03/11/2023

Olivier Vadrot was born in 1970. He lives and works in Beaune, Burgundy. His career was determined very early on at the crossroads of many fields: architecture, design, curating and exhibition scenography, and the theatrical and musical scene. While studying at the Lyon School of Architecture, he embarked on the collective adventure of the Pluzdank Theater (1996-2001). He co-founded the contemporary art center La Salle de bains in Lyon (1999) and then the group Cocktail Designers (2004), within which he designed several listening devices for music labels (Le Kiosque électronique, 2004; Icosajack, 2007). His stay at the Villa Medici as a scenographer (2012-2013) marks an important turning point in his career.

From the Circo minimo conceived during this residency to the Cavea Survey, which then led him to survey most of the ancient performance buildings, his personal practice has recently asserted itself by refocusing around micro-architectures that allow for making assembly (Faire c’est dire, 2017), shaping the collective (Les Tribunes, 2015), catalyzing debates (Cavea, 2016). While some of these devices are nomadic, reproducible and ephemeral, reduced to essential forms and made of inexpensive materials, others have been more durably implanted in public space (Conversations, 2018; Orchestre, 2018; Fossils, 2020). A first monographic work, entitled Mêlées, was dedicated to him in 2020 by the editions Catalogue Général, Paris.


Project at Villa Medici :

CAVEA is the provisional title given to a research project begun in 2016 thanks to an Hors-les-Murs grant from the French Institute. It originated in the library of the Académie de France in Rome, one day in the summer of 2012, when Maria Teresa De Bellis introduced him to a work by Auguste Caristie, Prix de Rome at the beginning of the 19th century.

Olivier Vadrot’s project takes the form of a documented survey (photos, surveys and drawings) of a vast group of ancient performance buildings: theaters, odeons, bouleuterions, stadiums, hippodromes… but also some specific buildings, such as the Athenian Pnyx or the Roman Curia. The type of building is variable (all that has a tier), the geographical area is very wide, and the historical period even more so (from the first Cretan buildings of the 2nd millennium BC, to the reminiscences of this form in modern times). A wide spectrum therefore, but only one object of study, the detail of the step. Expressed in section, 3 to 5 successive steps give to see the building as a simple seat, the theater seen as a bench. Which is finally quite logical for someone who claims to be a designer. The final object will take the form of a vast collection of drawings, gathered in a book, to be published in 2024.

This study is also a way of building up an ever-expanding formal vocabulary, since the question of the form given to the assembly of an audience, what the Anglo-Saxons call “audience”, has been at the center of his practice as a designer and artist for the past fifteen years.


© Lin Delpierre