The beauty of the gesture

Artist in residence at the University of Montpellier, Leonardo Montecchia tracks our everyday gestures. Meet a singular observer of the body in motion.

I have trouble with the word choreographer," he warns. I see myself more as a thinker of the body, a body in relation to its environment.

Credit: Jérôme Guiraud

This difficulty in allowing oneself to be confined, even within a definition, is undoubtedly what has made Leonardo Montecchia such an eternal traveler, having lived on 3 continents before the age of 30, pounding the pavements of London, Buenos Aires, New York and Paris. And more than a dancer or choreographer, a creator dedicated to movement...

In search of the useless gesture

One day in 2001, Leonardo " failed at Montpellier ". He's still there, sometimes a little surprised that he hasn't left yet. Artist in residence at the University of Montpellier until April, he has come to do what he loves: explore new paths, in this " city at the heart of the city " with its 45,000 students and 4,500 staff.
For several months, Leonardo and his interpreters will be living among these inhabitants of the university planet: rubbing shoulders with them, observing them. Study them. "Questioning everyday gestures," he explains: those of students, teachers, researchers and staff. Gestures of transmission, of profession, but also of reflection, of impatience..."
What he comes to track down more precisely in lecture halls, labs, classrooms and libraries is the useless gesture. A uselessness that he immediately places in the field of life. Of the priceless.

What place, in today's hyper-productive society, is there for gestures that "serve no purpose"? What space, in the field of learning, for the useless? Is it a place for inaction? Or reflection?

A different view of daily life

Leonardo is at home on the university campus. He carries with him his constant search for a contemporary art form that draws its inspiration from everyday life, and that appeals to everyone. His quest for " another possible body: a body to be imagined. Art helps us to look at reality differently. To build a different world ".
It's a project that's particularly well-suited to a university setting: " This is where the future is made! Universities are profoundly artistic places: places of learning and research, but also of questioning, of awakening consciences. It's a creative space, with strong links to the imaginary.
In April, the residency will culminate in a show open to all. A choreographic work featuring 5 performers and divided into several ambulatory pieces, where students, staff and visitors to the university will be taken from place to place, on several UM sites. " The artist residency invites everyone to take another look at their daily lives. It should also enable the public to enter the heart of the university, to discover it for what it is: a space open to the world and to society ", explains Marta Cases Bobadilla, from the Art & Culture department.