They immersed themselves in our stories and became particularly fascinated by the many photographs sporting the marquise in a mediaeval page's outfit. These portraits express a great nostalgia, an intense longing for other lives and other times. FC Bergman took these images as a starting point and created an audiovisual exhibition that will descend on the castle.
At the end of the nineteenth century, marquise Arconati Visconti, born Marie Peyrat, inherited Gaasbeek Castle. Her marriage to the wealthy Giammartino launched the 'simple middle-class girl' as a noblewoman. After her husband's untimely death, she spared no expense in thoroughly transforming the castle into a dream castle. She furnished it as a neo-Renaissance fairytale castle. In this radical anachronism, the marquise seemed to find herself at home in a time she could not possibly have known up close.
One hundred years ago, this melancholy marquise died. Before her death, she donated the castle to the Belgian state and most of its contents to Parisian museums such as the Louvre and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. In turn, a special series of glass plates ended up at Musée d'Orsay. In these photos, the marquise, dressed as a medieval page, poses in her castle. Seemingly careless, reading or dreaming at the window, but unmistakably staged.
This series of photographs inspired FC Bergman to create a number of short films set in and around the castle. Residues from these film sets remain here and there, entering into dialogue with the castle rooms. Along with the film projections, they take you into a meditation around an unnamed woman who, just like the marquise, is skilled in shape-shifting. She thus spins a web of alternate identities around herself. Does she want to lose herself? Or is she just trying to secure her existence?
This exhibition and these short films are suitable for all ages, but may contain some frightening clips for sensitive souls. Some of the rooms are darkened.
Scenario, direction, design, concept Stef Aerts, Joé Agemans, Marie Vinck (FC Bergman) Play Marie Vinck et al. Line producer Celine van der Poel Cinematography Ruben Impens 1st AD Eddy Stevesyns Make-up design Kaatje Van Damme Costume design Charlotte Willems Staging Bert Jacobs Sound design Senjan Jansen Production Toneelhuis Co-production Gaasbeek Castle Campaign image Saskia Verreycken (mask) and Charlie De Keersmaecker (photo)
Following the exhibition at the castle, FC Bergman will continue working with this material at Toneelhuis, which will be the starting point for an evening of dialogue between film and theatre. Ne mobliez mie – revue of lost vignettes will premiere on 30 November at the Bourla Theatre in Antwerp.