Vive l’Optimisme! A performance at Centre Français de Berlin – Interview with Candide DuJardin

During the performing Arts Festival that is happening in Berlin between the 28th of May till the 2nd of June, don’t miss Vive l’Optimisme! a gardening show that will take place at the Centre Français de Berlin with 4 representation. This Show is curated Candide DuJardin himself, and include the works of Carla Caminati, Clémentine Decremps, Thibaut d’Alton, Romain Frequency, Fleur Helluin, Kunigunde, Stéphane Mashyno, Pauline Payen, Valentin Plessy, Philipp Urrutia, Cécile Wesolowski, Sophie Whitman. Get your tickets now.

He describes himself as a curious createur / lunatic with a big portion of naivité and a weakness for philosophy and gardening: Candide DuJardin was born somewhere in North Rhine-Westphalia, west of Germany. After serving in the Bulgaria army for a year he studied law in Lisboa, bevor changing to Art History and Film Theory at the renowned Sorbonne. He did his Ph.D. in Buenos Aires about the oeuvre of philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in pop culture which was followed by some artistic employment at the Museo Paraguayo de Arte Contemporáneo. Several residencies that he received during his Master in approached theatre studies in Amsterdam and Gießen gave him the chance to explore the possibilities to combine performance and gardening art. His first conceptional work “The Price of Sugar”, an artistic reinterpretation of a sugar plantation in Paramaribo (Suriname) received several accolades and gave him needed motivation to continue. He came to Berlin for doing a Master in Solo/Dance/Authorship (SODA) at HZT and is now curating his first own gardening show.

KALTBLUT: In the last 25 years you have lived all around the globe. Did this inspire you to do a Gardening Show about the “best of all worlds”?
CDJ: I came around a bit, true but not more than other people of my generation. I think it’s pretty much normal to be a “citoyen du monde” (French for a citizen of the world) these days.

KALTBLUT: Can you tell us a bit about this upcoming project?

 Are you gonna provide us with Optimism during the show?
CDJ: I don’t want to spoil too much but you couldn’t be more right about this.

KALTBLUT: Is it about flowering art?
CDJ: This might very well be part of it but we are aiming to see each of our artistic contributions as patches. Together they form a colorful playground that we can call “our garden”.

KALTBLUT: So what can we expect from this?
CDJ: A lot. Can you get more clear, please?

KALTBLUT: Is this gonna be a performance, dance or choreography or classical theatre? An installation? Or an exhibition?
CDJ: Yes.

CDJ: We’re multidisciplinary.

KALTBLUT: Where do you get your inspiration from?

CDJ: That might sound a bit cheesy but it is coming from „human art“.

KALTBLUT: What are your criteria for choosing the participating artists?

CDJ: It has to click. I tell them this very personal story of mine and see how they react. It is fundamental for me to gain a certain level of trust and respect from them. There was a time in my life where I really didn’t know how to move on, I simply couldn’t. I don’t know how I got there but I ended up at this U6 station called Rehberge in Wedding (pretty much in the north from everywhere I was before in this city) just to stare at some advertisement about sugar. I think I sat on this BVG bench for at least 5 hours. And then there was this homeless woman who saw me, and I really have to say that she was my guardian angel because I was very melancholic and God knows which dark ideas I could have.
This woman was probably watching me for a while and saw my misery and what happened after is what I consider a new chapter in my life.

KALTBLUT: So what happened?
CDJ: She showed me a place, not too far from the underground station. She said, „Don’t worry they run all night long but let’s just have this moment together first“.

KALTBLUT: What was this place?

It used to be a parking spot. Right behind the Eiffel tower.

KALTBLUT: So it happened in Paris? You were talking about Wedding before.
CDJ: There’s actually an Eiffel tower in Wedding. Obviously not as big as the original one but still very charming. People really managed to create something at this spot. So at this place, there were some other people who to be honest I would avoid if I see them during the night but we all ended up having a very nice evening together. And that homeless woman gave me a piece of advice that saved my life.

KALTBLUT: What was that advice?

CDJ: First she just told me a bit about her life story. And when she finished I had this weird mixture of emotions: I felt sorry for her but on the other hand, it was a relief. If I would have doubted why I am here and how all of this makes sense I never questioned that anymore after her story.

KALTBLUT: In which language did she speak with you?
CDJ: That’s not important to the story.

KALTBLUT: Do you want to tell us about her life?

No. Because it’s not what was important about it. What was important was that she gave me this advice: „You’re a good listener and I can see that you already feel a bit better. So what you do now is to ask everyone you meet about their life stories. And you can start with all these people who are having this very nice little moment with us.“ And I did exactly this. I listened to all of them. All night long. And suddenly I knew what I had to do.

KALTBLUT: Which was?
CDJ: Cultivate my own garden.

KALTBLUT: And that’s what this project is about?

CDJ: Yes. But it’s not only about me. I couldn’t do it alone so I needed some help.

KALTBLUT: So people are helping you to create your vision?

CDJ: No. I was just the one who had the idea. But this project can actually only work when it becomes collective.

KALTBLUT: So what is the advice you give to your collaborating artists?
CDJ: Listen to others. And then do what you have to do.

KALTBLUT: Which can actually take some time to figure it out.
CDJ: No, that’s just an excuse. It’s very easy.

KALTBLUT: So what do I have to do?

CDJ: You have to cultivate your garden. Just like all of us.

KALTBLUT: I have the feeling you will not explain this more?
CDJ: How about this: There is no effect without a cause.

KALTBLUT: So that’s all I guess?

CDJ: And we live in the best of all worlds.

KALTBLUT: Thank you for the interview!
CDJ: A pleasure. See you soon!

Event title
Vive l’Optimisme! 
A gardening show

Curated by Candide DuJardin

With the works of
Carla Caminati, Clémentine Decremps, Thibaut d’Alton, Romain Frequency, Fleur Helluin, Kunigunde, Stéphane Mashyno, Pauline Payen, Valentin Plessy, Philipp Urrutia, Cécile Wesolowski, Sophie Whitman

Guided tours: 30.05.2019, 2 pm
30.05.2019, 8.30 pm
01.06.2019, 2 pm
01.06.2019, 8.30 pm
During the Performing Arts Festival
Location: Centre Français de Berlin
Müllerstraße 74, 13349 Berlin

Tickets available at
Instagram: @candidedujardin

Photos by Clémentine Decremps