Moscow, Russia / Paris, France
Painter-calligrapher, poet, artist, actor, teacher at the Lomonosov Moscow State University
Bruno Niver, specialist in extravagant performances,
creator of a new genre of visual poetry where letters
turn into colourful images and create symbols.
BRUNO NIVER BIOGRAPHY
How a poet from Paris going to Moscow
Bruno Niver was born in Paris. Since early 1990’s he has lived in Moscow.
Inspired by a still breathing tradition of futurism poetry, preserving its revolutionary spirit and theatrical performance though eliminating the ideological colouring related to the communist revolution, Bruno Niver wrote his Song of the Space. During the poesoconcerts (a neologism created by Igor Severyanin) he recited his cycle of space poetry where the author combined avant-garde and petrarcism, rhymed poetry and vers libre.
Driven by the idea of transforming poetry into theatrical performance, Bruno is always looking for creativity sources, draws musicians, actors, dancers, and avant-garde designers. Once after another performance a fancy auction of the poet’s writings was organized and he was first struck by the idea of calligraphic design for his poems. Bruno was captured by the idea of making full-colour paintings of different sizes where the words of poetry could turn into colourful images.
Transgression of a poet into a poet-artist
Bruno Niver kept on searching for new ways of expressing his poetry and once made a calligraphic presentation for one of his short poems. Later on he also tried to add some colour to his poem-paintings. The interaction of colour and calligraphy established new relations between words; poetry acquired sudden visual meaning. Captivated by the idea, Bruno Niver coloured his paintings and experimented with size. Spectators, using their imagination, could see various images in one and the same poem-painting. Just like a piece of abstract painting, a poem-painting started to live a life of its own, independently of poetry, originally being it’s visual representation. This artwork inspired Bruno Niver to create new poetic texts.
The poem-paintings were exhibited in such prestigious galleries as: The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Mayakovsky Museum, Embassy of France, as well as in a number of private galleries in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, and Paris, the poet’s home city.
From poem-paintings to poem-dresses
“I think I might breath more life into my poem-paintings, add some volume to them, add more dimensions,“ the poet-artist thought, “ Why don’t I fashion a costume for a dancer to instill even more expression into my poems? It would be nice to enrich my performances with choreography”. The transition of a concept into reality was very swift, thus Bruno Niver entered the world of fashion.
He built a team of young couturier students. Under his guidance they drafted first models of poem-dresses, incorporating patterns, shapes, and colours of the poem-paintings. Bruno Niver supervised their every move, from layouts to ready dresses, being the chief inspirer, client, and proprietor of these artworks. Some of them resemble the works of Russian Futurists and Pierre Cardin’s early collections.
Thus a new collection appeared, combining fashion and poetic performance: “Poetic Fashion”.
Poem-dresses are used in poetico-dance shows that originate in maestro’s first “poesoconcerts” and bequeath the legacy of Russian Futurists. During these shows the poet recites his poems; ballet dancers in poem-dresses whirl around him; and the screen in the background flashes poem-paintings, the prototypes of the dresses.
“Poetic Fashion”, a Franco-Russian project, was first aired in April 2004, at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. It was contained within the framework of the French Poetic Seasons, organized by Bruno Niver in collaboration with the Embassy of France, and Moscow and Paris city authorities.
Since that time his collections have been exhibited at many private shows (in cooperation with V.Polunin’s projects such as: “Chinese New Year” at the Moscow Central House of Artists; the opening ceremony of Chekov’s Festival of Theatre and Drama in the Aquarium Garden and the Chinese Aviator Jao Da club); as well as at numerous contests and competitions, seasoned with dancing, impromptu live jazz, reciting poems, depicted on dresses and unique décor from poem-paintings.
In 2008 Bruno Niver created his own ballet-extravaganza: “Anti-Venus”, for which he: wrote a libretto, designed the decorations, based on poem-paintings, and 200 poem-dresses, and wrote the lyrics for soundtrack songs.
From poem-paintings to poem-ceramics
Recently Bruno Niver decided to make his art still more tangible and voluminous: poetry meets ceramics through painting. In the Arms of the Wind Insane presents a new poem-ceramics technique painted in colour during the author’s journey from Nice to Corsica:
In the arms of the wind insane,
In the midst of the salty sea,
In the tension of strings of my lire,
In the dance with the ship I rejoice,
In the rhythm of the nature sweeping,
In the waves and the waters floating,
In the bliss and the joy of eternity kiss,
In the skies above besotted
F R E E D O M
In the azure sea be stretched!
G A L F
Transition from poem-paintings to poem-ceramics engendered new shapes, new volume, new outlines, leading to total transformation. The glaze and the special coating technique (subsequent application of several layers and further burning) make the colours bright and vivid, revealing tints and tinges, that cannot be achieved in pastel paintings.
Bruno Niver’s Poem-ceramics are showcased at many exhibitions, accompanied by poem-paintings.
Actor and Chansonnier
In 2002 during the Russian Seasons in Paris Bruno Niver tried his hand in acting, playwriting and directing. He participated in the “Moscow on Stage” festival with a stage performance at the Moliere Theatre about three early 20th century Russian poets: Alexandr Blok, Vladimir Mayakovsky and Sergei Yesenin.
2006–2007: Bruno improved his vocalism skills and elaborated his own music repertoire based on classical French chanson.
2008-2009: Bruno Niver staged a series of performances: “They Met In Paris”, based on the life and works of: Mayakovsky, Aragon, Brik and Triole, at the Moscow Mayakovsky Museum. He also introduced some of his own songs and poems in French and in Russian. In 2010 the show hit Paris within the framework of the Russia-France Cross-year.
Poem-paintings are full-colour graphic images of poems executed in a calligraphic manner on paper. The viewer can enjoy the fanciful interweaving of letters forming the words which in their turn make up a brief poem in French.
Poem-paintings were exhibited in such prestigious sites as the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Mayakovsky Museum, Embassy of France and private art galleries.
“When I paint, I try to graphically express the image I conceive through poetic rhyme. At that moment there is no particular melody in my mind, but a set of sounds, that guide my hand and determine my choice of colour. Initially I can never tell what this piece is going to look like. However, during the process the poetic image and the corresponding set of sounds I keep in mind actually control my imaginative algorithms. Thus, the work of art is comprised of three constituents: pastel, a set of sounds and the image of the word in my mind”.
Poem-dresses are 3D images of poem-paintings.
During the show the poet-artist is reciting and singing the poems imprinted on dresses. It is a combination of several arts in one performance: live jazz improvisation, recital of poems imprinted on dresses and special decoration with poem-paintings.