Photo : Blue Tired Heroes © Daniel Suaka
Commission for Rennes
Blue Tired Heroes
Massimo Furlan / Numero 23Prod
When superman accepts the passing of time
After his railway-themed performance, Nocturne, last year, Massimo Furlan returns to the streets with his “senior citizen supermen” in blue pyjamas with red capes and underpants. Fifteen local resident “performers” act out this series of quirky and subtle urban tableaux.

Last year, Swiss-Italian and multidisciplinary artist Massimo Furlan created an in-situ railway performance on a local train with 120 musicians, called Nocturne. Now he’s back in Rennes for a new poetic and idiosyncratic adventure in public space. In Blue Tired Heroes, fifteen “senior citizen supermen” walk the streets to create a series of burlesque, yet subtle, tableaux, providing physical evidence that this eternally young superhero has actually aged, with residents who become “performers”.

Superman was born in 1933. Since then, Clark Kent has remained trapped in an eternal “superhero” youth, enjoying decade after decade of glory. But what if he finally accepted his real age? Massimo Furlan answers this question by releasing a strange infantry of around fifteen elderly men into the city to perform in public space, armed only with blue pyjamas and red pants, socks and a cape.

Their elderly bodies and wrinkled faces rattle our imaginations, providing amusing proof of the passage of time. These “blue tired heroes” are played by fifteen or so volunteer residents, who provide a humorous and self-depreciating portrayal of their age and image, a far cry from the muscular stereotypes we are used to. They will form a series of strange tableaux vivants (living pictures) across a set itinerary.

Blue Tired Heroes follows on from a series of experimental works in public space around the figure of Superman (Superman Cosmic Green, Love Story Superman), questioning the notion of a hero figure and the fantasy of superhumans in the popular imagination and replacing it with a profoundly human portrayal of the passing of time. This funny, intense, tender and visually refined piece is an extraordinary portrayal of ordinary men, speaking volumes about how capable “superheroes” really are of saving the world (or America). This is an amusing, laugh-out-loud and burlesque vision, and poetic and collective use of public space.


Swiss artist and set designer, MASSIMO FURLAN, trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne, where he learned the visual artforms he continues to use and exhibit in art galleries and museums across Europe. He has worked with various dance and theatre companies, and in 2003, he founded his own performing arts company, Numero23Prod, to explore performance art and break down boundaries between genres. Whether wearing Michel Platini’s football jersey (Numéro 10, Prolongation, Foot), organising an academic travelling performance on a carousel (Après la fin, le congrès) or taking over a village to question the development of fiction when welcoming migrants (Hospitalités), his multiple performances are generally underpinned by humour and idiosyncrasy, and question popular events and the notion of a team, around the themes of image, time, childhood, memory and games. Last year at Les Tombées de la Nuit, his creation Nocturne was our first glimpse into his unusual, sensitive, funny and melancholy world, which explored the notions of encounters, places and the role of the spectator. His inspiring work falls somewhere between the visual arts, performing arts and contemporary art. We are delighted to see the next instalment here in Rennes with Blue Tired Heroes, before new adventures in 2019.


Directed by : Massimo Furlan
Theatrical adaptation : Claire de Ribaupierre
Costumes : Severine Besson
Production : Numero 23 Prod
Performed by around fifteen residents of Rennes Métropole


With the support of : Ville de Lausanne, Etat de Vaud, Pro Helvetia – Fondation Suisse pour la Culture

Friday 06 July 2018
17:00 > 18:30
Esplanade Charles-de-Gaulle, Rennes
Surprise walk in the city
Saturday 07 July 2018
14:00 > 19:00
République, Rennes
Surprise walk in the city
Sunday 08 July 2018
14:00 > 19:00
Déambulation surprise dans la ville
Surprise walk in the city

Métro/bus/vélo : République - Ligne de bus : toutes les lignes desservant le centre ville
cognitif visuel
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The association is supported by the City of Rennes, the Brittany Region, the Ille-et-Vilaine Department & the ministry of culture.

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