Séverine Fontaine © Justine Macadoux
Séverine Fontaine © Justine Macadoux

Séverine Fontaine

The inside of a light bulb is a representation of ourselves, a luminous body through which energy passes.

Séverine Fontaine founded the IKB company and has produced many theatrical and performance experiments. Passionate about the diversity of human beings, she explores the themes of the difficulty of existing in the world, loneliness, childhood and the end of life.

Updated on 02/08/2019

2 min

Before creating the IKB company in 2002, Séverine Fontaine dabbled in dance, music, theatre and the visual arts, before studying at the National Drama Centre in Besançon under the direction of Michel Dubois, then in Lyon with anthropologist Denis Cerclet.

Her company’s artistic approach is a reflection of her own life: it is fundamentally focused on people. With them she creates projects based on conversations with artists, teenagers and the elderly.

Curious about new technologies, her practice focuses on lighting design in two and three dimensions, and is accompanied by aural creations. Since 2019, she has been exploring virtual reality.

Working with light is one of Séverine Fontaine's signatures. Among her most notable creations is the show Regards (2013), which followed the path of a child who changes and grows on stage, surrounded by some thirty anthropomorphic lamps. “Like us, lamps exist in all shapes and postures, small, large, flexible, rigid, twisted.”; a luminous way for the artist to emphasise, through a familiar object, the multiplicity of beings and sensibilities.

Since 2014, while living and working in Lyon, France, Séverine Fontaine has regularly travelled to Montreal, Canada, where she has founded a branch of her company IKB, dubbed Studio IKB. There she regularly collaborates with major institutions such as the Société des arts technologiques (SAT), which hosted her immersive work Lamparium in 2017, or the Usine C, which presented her theatrical laboratory Identities in 2018, begun in 2015. This “laboratory” is inspired by the meetings Séverine Fontaine held with a dozen artists from Montreal, and examines intercultural relations. This theme is important to her, and allows her to explore individual struggles, family histories and the secrets that each of us holds within ourselves.

From December 2018 to March 2019, she took part in a Custom Residency in Argentina where she conducted artistic and anthropological research: taking the city of Buenos Aires as a starting point, her investigation led her to the nearby cities of Montevideo in Uruguay and Santiago in Chile.

  • 2002


    Séverine Fontaine creates the IKB company in Lyon.

  • 2005


    After two years of residency at the Charpennes de Villeurbanne Geriatric Hospital, Séverine Fontaine presents the show she has produced as the result of her discussions with elderly people, Un siècle de mémoires at the Rencontres de la Vilette in Paris.

  • 2008


    She begins the transnational and transgenerational project Filaments, inspired by her encounters with the elderly and young adolescents.

  • 2013


    She creates the show Regards, which features around thirty different lamps on stage, representing the variety of human beings.

  • 2014


    Séverine Fontaine designs the monumental light and sound work Incandescence for the Festival of Lights in Lyon.

  • 2019


    Séverine Fontaine explores virtual reality with the Luminarium project and creates new lighting installations, notably for the Lyon Festival of Lights, which has awarded her the position of International Ambassador.

The Institut français and the work

Séverine Fontaine received the support of the Résidences sur mesure (Custom Residencies) programme offered by the Institut français to work on her project in Argentina from December 2018 to March 2019. Find out more about the Résidences sur mesure (Custom Residencies) programme.

From 2016 to 2018, the project « Identies » created in Montréal by the IKB company received the support of the Institut français within its partnership programme with the city of Lyon. 

L'institut français, LAB