˟ MATHIEU FORGET ˟ Interview by Magali-Marie Bonald
Born 31 years ago in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Mathieu grew up between France, Switzerland and the United States, where he studied and trained to become a professional tennis player. Passionate about dancing and performing as well, he eventually decided to take up an artistic career. Having his very own vision of art and of how he wanted to express himself, Mathieu started to work as a « movement artist » 6 years ago. Also known as the « Flying Man » on social media, Mathieu, a one-of a-kind performer enjoys defying gravity.
A Movement Artist « As a former professional tennis player who became a dancer, I have always loved to move and have used my body in many different ways. As social media outgrew traditional media, I decided to explore them as visual platforms. I created a character and a style, which could be described as “photos in the air”. This is what got me noticed and helped me develop my professional network. I started getting booking requests through my social media accounts. It was tricky for me to describe what I do. “I fly on social media” sounds a bit odd indeed! I therefore got to call myself a “movement artist”, which reflects my activities of performing, creating and capturing movement in a specific moment ».
A Creative Director « Another part of my activity is about finding locations for my photoshoots, picking what I am going to wear, developing the concept for a photo or a video. I either shoot pictures myself or work with professional photographers and artists. When I lived in New-York, I developed a network of photographers, not to simply collect pictures of myself but to blend our respective visions. It all started as a game, which then became a job. I still enjoy playing around with architecture, places I shoot in, and movements I want to create. Besides, having more and more people asking me about what I exactly do, triggers the need to dig deeper and find more meaning behind everything I do. I have to be authentic about what I do daily and what I share when I express myself as a movement artist ».
Artistic vision « Inspiration can come from everything I see. I always ask myself: “How could I capture this from where I stand and the moment I am in?” It also is about telling my story: the one of a man who did a lot of things but now commits to the arts. I do have an eye for beauty, whatever shape it takes. Artists have the gift to share their experience – it is true for any type of art. Today, I capture through dance moments and emotions of my life. But I might do it through music or painting or any kind of art form in a few years’ time. Who I am as a human being and an artist cannot be split up and this is important for me to express this reality through my art. My professional life always is inspired by my everyday life».
What can dance do for people and society ? « It does a lot for sure. First of all, it is a very healthy activity. It is good for both your body and your mind. I am also very impressed by how dancers and athletes can stretch their limits and create movements that I thought could not be possible to do. For me dance conveys this idea of “Sky is the limit”. Dancing pushes my physical and emotional limits. It gives everyone a sense of hope and inspires people to go further ».
A new outlet « There was a time when we had to go to the theater, buy a ticket and get seated to attend artistic performances. The digital world has opened new doors to many. It gives a space for basically anybody to showcase what they can do. Of course, as a performer, what I enjoy the most is to dance on a stage in front of people. It makes me super happy. But as a matter of fact, I did find success on this little stage called “smartphone”. This is both the smallest and the biggest stage in the world. Every time I post a picture or a video on social media, it is a little performance of its own. And the audience gives immediate feedback. People love or hate what I post, they share it or not, and it therefore also gives me an idea of how well I do my job in a way. This is both challenging and interesting.
Social media allowed me to catch people’s attention. Once the pandemic will be over, I would love to perform on stage. This would be a transition from the digital to the physical world, bringing people together physically ».
Giving back « Ultimately, giving back really matters to me. Teach tennis to kids was one way to do it. I always like to show dance moves to my friends’ children also!
In the future, I wish to do something more meaningful. I started to think about a philanthropic project. I would like to offer terminally ill kids to transform into superheroes and do photoshoots where they could embody a superpower.
On another note, I also like to share tips and advice on how I do my job. People often ask me how I can fly on pictures, or what camera I use. I therefore decided to gather all this knowledge together and schedule classes to explain all the “behind the scene” of my activity. I hope to be able to start doing this in a few weeks’ time ».