An exhibition honoring Compagnie Archaos, a reference in circus art

The British nicknamed them “French anarchists.” The Archaos company has traversed time and eras. Even today, it is a reference in circus art. Even pioneers. Within the framework of the International Biennial of Circus Arts or BIAC (1), the entourage of Raquel Rache de Andrade, co-director, was at the heart of the photo exhibition. By Philippe Cibille. Another artist, who shares the company’s daily life spanning decades. His black and white photographs line the walls of the Armand-Gatti library as well as the chapel of the TPM conservatory in La Seyne. One is for the under the hood period (from 1989 to 1994), the other is for the indoor period (1995-2010).

From jazz to rock

“The first was more rock and punk”, Raquel Rache de Andrade smiled. Brazilian Circus, he joined Archaos in 1988. “We have sixteen different nationalities, including Eskimos! In particular, we put on a stage with a hundred artists in a tent sixty meters long and twenty high”, he continued, his eyes tinged with nostalgia and emotion. There followed an eight-month tour around the world. “It was incredible”, he breathed. All these cheerful bands move in convoys that stretch for more than five kilometers on the highway. “Our specialty is replacing animals with anything that can be mechanical: motorbikes, cars, cranes, trapeze trucks…”

With its own tent, Archaos lives in complete autonomy, with artists sharing everything. All the time. Something that caught Philippe Cibille’s attention and curiosity. By the mid-1980s, he was listed as a jazz photographer. He arrived in this new world by chance. “A press officer suggested I go see a show. Maybe because I’m the most rock’n’roll photographer”, he remembered, the cap was screwed onto the skull. Before diving back into his memories: “I was immediately hooked. It was alive, alive, much more alive than jazz. It was not the image I had of a circus, I was stuck on what I could see as a child on television. I was bitten. I even bought a caravan to go with them. From meeting to meeting, I found my place, without thinking too much. I was touched by these people. When you work late like that, for fifteen to twenty years, we are part of the family.”

He then worked with two cameras around his neck, one on black and white film, the other in color. But in the first category he immortalized Archaos. “It offers another reading. We leave room for imagination, we give more dreams”, he begged.

Philosophy in symbiosis with the entourage. “Philippe is a companion, he has his looks. He is quite discreet but always present. He is a reference for us, a companion for many years. He sees things we do not perceive, captures moments that are so real. This exhibition makes it possible to recognize his work .Showing these moments is very emotional”agreed Raquel.

From tent to stage

After the capital city, Archaos invested in show space. Another World, “A different way of life above all. We entered the normal system. The relationship with the audience is different, because in the tent, he entered into a dream with this mortal side. People are more open to the show. The partner is that we are less cold!”, underlined the former acrobat. The group then entered the digital era and the game of images and light. It’s not enough to change Philippe Cibille’s work, which continues to perpetuate the artist’s appearance with the same fidelity.

Simply offers a dive into the history of the contemporary circus, through a company that has become a school. Installed in Marseille since 2011 and a neat street, Archaos was labeled National Circus Pole in 2012. “After crossing the world, we want to settle down. And instead of seeing artists, we bring them to us”, the co-director promised. Fame did the rest. This troupe, which always is “break the code and get ahead of its time” according to Raquel Rache de Andrade, it remains the benchmark. Always open to sharing, yesterday’s circus artists also became resource persons to share their knowledge of circus writing. A method to open up this art to everyone. Here again in the universal dimension.

1. From January 6 to March 25 in the Armand-Gatti library and in the conservatory chapel. FREE ADMISSION.

A show to behold


> by Company XY. Acrobatic elevator. Friday 20 and Saturday 21 January. The tent room, in La Seyne-sur-Mer.

> Passenger by 7 fingers. Acrobatics, aerial, balancing, juggling. Tuesday January 24th. Cinema in Dracénie, in Draguignan.

> Animal hair (opus 3) by Compagnie des Plumés. Clown, dress up. Saturday February 11th. Pole, in Revest.

> Deer Night by Le Roux circus. Acrobatic lifts, scales, airframes, straps. Saturday 25 February. Theater Le Forum, in Fréjus.


> Handless Bastien by Treteaux de France. Juggling. Tuesday January 17th. Salle Juliette-Gréco, in Carros.

> Shadow by L’Obli(ee) – Raphaëlle Boitel. Choreographic circus. Thursday 19 and Friday 20 January. The Kitchen (TNN), in Nice.

> Avoid by PPCM Productions. Trampoline. Tuesday 24 and Wednesday 25 January. Anthea, in Antibes.

> Death dance by Martin Zimmermann. Dance, theater, circus. Tuesday 7 and Wednesday 8 February. Anthea, in Antibes.

> Gravitropy (a number of possible disorders) by Naïf production. Floor acrobatics. Saturday February 4th. Scene 55, in Mougins.

> Bells and Spells by Victoria Thierrée Chaplin with Aurélia Thierrée and Jaime Martinez.

Theater, dance, circus, illusion. From Thursday 9 to Saturday 11 February. The Kitchen (TNN), in Nice.

> Twinkling by Lunatics. Acrobatics, balance, object manipulation. Saturday March 4th. Unicorn Theater in Cannes.

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