Steven Cohen was born in 1962 in South Africa, he now lives in France. Performer, choreographer and visual artist, he has orchestrated interventions in public places, in art galleries or on stages, notably for the Festival d’Automne, at the Center Pompidou in Paris, at the ImPulsTanz Vienna International Dance Festival, at the National Arts Festival in Makhanda, at the Théâtre du Rond-Point in Paris, in Montpellier Danse, at the Festival d’Avignon, for the Munich Opera Festival at the Bavarian State Opera, at the Escena Contemporánea Festival in Madrid, at the Bozar in Brussels, at the Oktoberdans festival in Bergen , at the Canadian Stage in Toronto… He has participated in residencies at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and the Center for Performance Research in New York.

© Valérie Le Guern

From 2003 to 2008, Steven Cohen and his partner, Elu Kieser, were associated artists of the Ballet Atlantique/Régine Chopinot in La Rochelle, France.

His works as a visual artist have been regularly exhibited around the world since the 1980s. The South African National Gallery in Cape Town is currently preparing a retrospective exhibition of his entire work scheduled for 2024.

He also runs workshops around the world that question the body as a scenographic object.

His work brings to light that which lies on the margins of society, beginning with his own identity as a gay, Jewish, white, South African man. Far from being narcissistic, the staging of his body is influenced by his own story and history and constitutes a means to exploring the flaws and grace of humanity. His ultra-sophisticated makeup is as elegant as it is surprising. His eccentric costumes, intense and ethereal at the same time, borrow from the world of luxury and elegance, from archaic rituals, from a bourgeois or colonial past as well as diverse queer inspirations. They reveal more than they hide and restrict the body and the movement, as if to simultaneously mark both the weight of the world and the restraining force different powers exert on the body. They are also, above all else, montages or collages created with the body itself, that transform it into chimeras or hybrid-beings whose identity is uncertain, multiple and fluid.

In this way Steven Cohen dresses up or rather metamorphoses into creatures as disconcerting as they are colourful. By instigating interventions on stage or in public spaces, he creates breaches in the day-to-day and in the spirit as well; not to trip people up but rather in order to finish with preconceived certitudes and together face the indifference currently gaining ground within our societies.

Steven Cohen’s visual artist activities are represented by the Mickael Stevenson Gallery in South Africa.
-> Consult the gallery website.

– In 2016, Steven Cohen decided to structure his activity as a performer by creating his own company.
– In 2017, with the support of Drac Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the Steven Cohen Company produced its first project, “put your heart under your feet… and walk! “.
– In 2020, the Company produced iBall, a performative installation.
– In 2021, following a workshop conducted with the X class of the École Supérieure du Théâtre National de Bretagne, the Company produced a collective work, From Outside In, which was created in July 2021. The same year it offered a new performance, Happy Birthday Mister Beuys, for the ImPulsTanz festival in Vienna, Austria, at the Leopold Museum.
– Since the 2021/2022 season, Steven Cohen is an associate artist of the Théâtre National de Bretagne.
– In 2022, in the fall, the Company’s new production, Boudoir, is created at the Théâtre Vidy in Lausanne.

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