The term Yokai refers to a Japanese monster and means, in its broadest sense, a supernatural phenomenon / whatever is not human.
The technical research and artistic exploration – at the intersection of puppetry and magic – has been geared toward interrogating the boundary between humanness and the supernatural creature.
After graduating from ESNAM in October 2014, Violaine Fimbel started the company Yôkaï, touring the first show VOLATILE(S) in Finland, Germany, Brazil, Japan and Avignon (France).
The company’s artistic identity is characterized by unsettling atmospheres and fantastic forms originating from Violaine Fimbel’s imagination or drawn from visual arts (cinema, painting, sculpture, illustration, etc.) and literature.
In order to develop her instinctive approach to magic, which is present in her first show, Violaine Fimbel attended the New Magic training led by Raphael Navarro and Valentine Losseau – from the 14:20 company – at CNAC. There she discovered a medium and an anthropological approach that mirrored her own research – making the impossible possible, nurturing confusion, bringing the supernatural to life – and gave her the theoretical background to support her instinctive process.
POSSESSION, the company’s second work, from 2017, intertwines the worlds of Lewis Carroll and Antonin Artaud in a game of double intellectual and psychological possession. The show, which caught the attention of the company 14:20, performed at the “New Magic young talents” night at Théâtre du Rond-Point in 2018, and led to the installation KILLING ALICE.
The company’s last work, GIMME SHELTER, explores the supernatural and the boundary between reality and fantasy. The premieres of the show have been presented in Festival Mondial des Théâtres de Marionnettes in Charleville-Mézières and in Manège de Reims-Scène nationale.
Violaine Fimbel conceives and makes the puppets displayed on stage. Her process is geared towards confusing the perception of the audience constantly, by mixing magic with puppets. She is assisted by Marianne Durand for the work on textile and taxidermy. All the creatures are equipped with self-powered motion. Not to give away the secret tricks of the magician, it should be said that work on the body and movement was conducted alongside choreographer Jérôme Brabant and the structures and mechanisms that instill life in the creatures on stage are conceived and built by Marjan Kunaver.