© Anton Corbijn

Jiří Kylián elected as foreign associate member of the Académie des beaux-arts

Creating a choreography section within the Académie Française

At its plenary session on Wednesday, April 25, 2018, the Académie des beaux-arts confirmed the election of Jiří Kylián as a foreign associate member of the chair that was previously held by Leonardo Cremonini.

This election has just received the approval of the Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, in accordance with the statutes of the Academy.

The Academy also adopted, on April 25, a reform of its statutes in view of creating a choreography section. This modification of the statutes will soon be submitted to the Council of State.

Biography of Jiří Kylián

After becoming fascinated by the circus at a very young age, Jiří Kylián was nterested in  acrobatics, leading to him joining the Prague National Theater School at the age of 9. Six years later he would be admitted to the Conservatory of the city and in 1967 he obtained a scholarship for the Royal Ballet School in London. Here, he meets a key figure, the choreographer John Cranko, who engages him in the ballet of Stuttgart.

He left Germany in 1975 to become co-artistic director of Nederlands Dans Theater (NDT) in The Hague. In 1978, after the success of his ballet Sinfonietta – accompanied by the music of his compatriot, composer Leoš Janáček – at the Festival des Deux Mondes in Charleston (South Carolina, USA), he is subsequently appointed artistic director of the NDT. His Symphony of Psalms, the second major work of this period, will mark the company’s prominence and establish his international reputation.

By the mid-1980s his style had become more abstract, as evidenced by the ballets of the series Black and White. His meeting with the Australian Aboriginals influenced his views on dance, a cornerstone of social structure and a key component of the artistic heritage of humanity.

For the 35th anniversary of NDT he created Arcimboldo in 1994, a ballet uniting the three NDT companies, a unique structure that embraced all phases of a dancer’s career, from 17 to 70 years old. Jiří Kylián retired in 1999 as artistic director of NDT, but remained as resident choreographer of the ensemble until 2009.

Since the early seventies, he created nearly one hundred ballets, three quarters of which for the Nederlands Dans Theater. He is the holder of many awards, including the Nijinsky Prize, awarded in Monte Carlo, and the French Legion of Honor. In 2006, he co-directed a film, Car-Men, choreographed and filmed in the desolate landscape of an open-pit coal mine in the Czech Republic. He has since created 3 more films and a photo installation.

The Académie des beaux-arts

One of the five Academies that make up the Institut de France, the Académie des Beaux-Arts encourages artistic creation in all its forms and ensures the defence of France’s cultural heritage. It continues its undertakings of support to artistic creation through organizing competitions, awarding prizes, financing residences for artists and grants to projects and demonstrations of artistic nature in France and abroad. As an advisory body to the public authorities, it is organized around the idea of ​​multidisciplinary, bringing together fifty-nine members in eight artistic sections.

Laurent Petitgirard, member of the music composition section, is the perpetual secretary of the Académie des beaux-arts since1st February 2017. Patrick de Carolis, member of the free members section and Pierre Carron, member of the painting section, were elected respectively president and vice-president of the Academy of Fine Arts for the year 2018.