Nina Laisné and François Chaignaud

Nina Laisne and François Chaignaud, still from Mourn, O Nature!

A 2009 graduate of the Bordeaux Academy of Fine Arts where she majored in photography and video, Nina Laisné also learned to play traditional Argentinian music from guitarist Miguel Garau. At that point, her desire to blend film, music, and contemporary art emerged. Laisné takes a special interest in marginals advancing on the borders of official history, as well as in oral traditions in the aftermath of an uprooting. As early as 2010, with Os convidados, Laisné’s images took on sound, suggesting traditional music. In 2013, her film En présence (Piedad Silenciosa) struck a balance between visual and musical writing, around religious reminiscences in Venezuelan folklore. The production also marked the start of a rewarding collaboration with the musician Daniel Zapico, to whom Laisné would return with music written centuries ago. With Folk Songs (2014) et Esas lágrimas son pocas (2015) Laisné adopted forms related to the documentary to trace musical traditions in migratory phenomena. Her projects have led to exhibitions in several countries, such as Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Egypt, China, and Argentina. She is regularly invited to produce new pieces during creative residencies (Casa de Velázquez – Académie de France in Madrid; FRAC Franche-Comté; Park in Progress in Cyprus and Spain; Pollen in Monflanquin, etc). Her video productions screen in movie theaters and at festivals, including the FID in Marseille, the FIAC  Paris, Papay Gyro Nights Festival in Hong Kong (China), Festival Internacional de Cinema in Toluca (Mexico), Shot Short Films in Moscow (Russia), Digo Festival de Goiás (Brasil) or Boden International Film Festival (Sweden). Laisné also collaborates with many stage artists, including the flamenco choreographer and dancer Israel Galván (El Amor Brujo), the puppet master Renaud Herbin (Open the Owl), or the spanish choreografer Luz Arcas (Toná).

After graduating in 2003 from the National Superior Conservatory of Paris for Music and Dance, François Chaignaud has collaborated with numerous choreographers, including Alain Buffard, Boris Charmatz, Emmanuelle Huynh, and Gilles Jobin. Since the creation of his first piece in 2004, he has taken up a multiplicity of roles as dancer, choreographer, singer, actor, historian, and cabaret artist. His work—which weaves for dance the aspiration of a comprehensive expression delving into the porosity and potential of bodies—has been characterized since early on by the articulation of singing and dance (Думи мої, 2013). With a degree in history, he nourishes his art with in-depth research. The historical depth is reflected in his own pieces as well as in the numerous collaborations he has done, and continues to do, with cabaret artist Jérôme Marin (Sous l’ombrelle, 2011), Marie Caroline Hominal (Duchesses, 2009), and visual artist Théo Mercier (Radio Vinci Park, 2016) among others. Chaignaud received the prize “Personnalité choréographique” from the French Syndicate of Critique in 2021. A Knight of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, he is Associate Artist at Bonlieu Scène Nationale, Annecy and at Chaillot — Théâtre National de la Danse, Paris.

Mourn, O Nature!
“Why awaken me, O breath of spring,” from the opera Werther by Jules Massenet, was one of the airs that Michael Jackson sang in the intimacy of his own studio. This little known and intriguing piece of information is the starting point for Nina Laisné and François Chaignaud’s project, Mourn, O Nature!. In this film, presented with Ciné-Corps, the artists reinvent a Werther who has been absorbed by Jackson and shares a fascination for nature, the desire to revisit ancestral legends, and the expression of a distressing love. The performer sings, dances, and metamorphoses; he slips into different vocal and physical registers and seems to continue Michael Jackson’s dream of total expression.