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Stage Designer / Scenographer,
Visual Artist, Architect
born in 1983 in Bourgogne, France
works and lives in Berlin.
represented by artnow Gallery Berlin

With a degree in theatre studies, a degree in visual arts and a state diploma in architecture with honours from the ENSA Paris-La Villette, Emilie Cognard received a creativity grant in October 2020 from the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, to support the creation of an artwork exploring the boundaries between art installation and scenography for contemporary dance.

          In an opposition culture that separates and reduces, Emilie Cognard has developed a practice around the “in-between”: searching for the hidden, for what is hollow, and, by trying to resist to the phenomena of homogenization and exclusion within our societies, reveal this. Analyzing, producing, and erasing traces, in various types of structures – urban and architectural, topographical, textual, corporal – Emilie Cognard studies and manipulates the silence: how can interruption and the seemingly absent affect our environment, our bodies and our imagination? Drawings, between fluidity and shades of black; installations, between tears and found objects; scenography, between transparency and used surfaces: it is in a dark and abstract writing that Emilie Cognard combines emptiness and lines, depth and superimposition, framing and geometry. Her action aims to build a place where memory is engaged. The resulting works are an entrance, a passage inviting to reflect on what we leave behind and on what we choose to keep. From her first installation in 2005 – manipulations of silent places – through her graphic analysis of the void from 2011, to her most recent project Silence 6, her work evolves around opening the door to the ambiguity of world. Conceived like a plastic story combining drawings, videos, participation, music, dance, installation and scenography, Silence 6 reflects a constant multidisciplinary dynamic in Emilie Cognard’s approach, where works keep responding and enriching each other.

           Emilie Cognard began her studies in the city of Paris in 2001, first attending University of Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III, followed by University of Paris 8 and then at the ENSA Paris-La Villette. A training that she continuously complemented with courses at the Ateliers Beaux-Arts in Paris. Since then, Emilie Cognard has built a multidisciplinary career in stage design/scenography, art and architecture. In 2005, she realised her first installations and stage designs. In 2010, she completed a year of study at the Architecture Department of the Academy of Arts in Berlin and settled permanently in Berlin at the end of 2012. In 2014, she started as an assistant to stage designer Jan Pappelbaum. That same year, she also worked as assistant stage designer on a production by choreographer Sasha Waltz at the Berlin Staatsoper, and made her début as a stage designer in the Berlin independent theatre scene. In 2015, she continued her collaboration with Jan Pappelbaum for the production Bella Figura directed by Thomas Ostermeier. For the seasons 15/16 and 16/17, she obtained a permanent position as assistant stage designer at the Schaubühne Berlin. She cooperated with stage designers with strong and striking aesthetics on various productions directed by Michael Thalheimer, Falk Richter, Nicolas Stemann, Katie Mitchell and Milo Rau. During this period, she also worked under her own name at the Schaubühne, on productions such as Macht was Ihr wollt and PEMDAS (FIND Festival 2017, directed by Christoph Buchegger). From 2017 to 2019 Emilie Cognard regularly worked with directors Claudia Marks and Rafat Alzakout and created among others stage designs for Ya Kebir and Your love is Fire (Berlin Performing Arts Festival, Ruhrfestspiele-Recklinghausen, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Thalia Theater Hamburg). In 2018, she conceptualized and created the installation zu Füssen der Steine liege ich Dir zu Füßen in collaboration with the architect Andreas Trampe-Kieslich (OMT architects). That same year, she also worked as a scenographer and installation designer with the artist Katharina Ziemke for her exhibition La lune, comme un sabre blanc at the Galerie Isabelle Gounod in Paris. In 2019, with her ink drawings, Emilie Cognard participated in a collective exhibition and auction, 100 unter 100, organised by Studio Baustelle in Berlin. In 2020, she created the project Silence 6, which started with two phases composed of a series of drawings and an installation. The third phase of the project, supported by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, in collaboration with musician and composer Christian Grothe and choreographer and dancer Evelin Facchini, led her to redefine the process of stage design for dance and to continue reinventing her artistic practice.