A puppet starts dead. It is made of lifeless materials. Duda’s puppets are sculpted from the same foam that is used for furniture and mattresses. A very willing material, that allows the sculptor to create any creature he imagines. Most importantly, the material responds to the movements of the puppeteer, creating the choreographic pattern we call: The Object Score, the choreography of two (or more) bodies directed by one mind.
Foam resembles the human body, but at the same time transcends it; foam is highly flexible. It can be stretched, squeezed, torn, cut, folded and put back together again. These properties make anything possible. The material allows the sculptor to create either small puppets or puppets that are bigger than life. Creating figurative and realistic creatures, hybrid figures (half man, half animal) – or anything that comes to mind.
Paiva’s puppets fill his stories with humor, poetry, emotion. Usually, they are naked – referring to Greek and Roman statues. To add definition, the shadow parts of the puppets are painted. Over time, Paiva has experimented with clothed puppets and puppets with a particular skin. For the eyes he uses shiny marbles.
Duda Paiva works with different types of puppets, all made out of foam:
Hybrids are puppets with only half of their body. The puppet depends on its puppeteer, who lends him (or her) his arms and/or his legs. Puppeteer and puppet are ‘glued together’, like Siamese twins. The manipulation technique involves for the puppeteer to insert his arm (and legs) into the foam, moving the puppet from within.
Full size puppets are complete figures. The puppeteer can insert his arm into the foam figure, but without lending him his arms or legs as part the puppet-body. Full size puppets are used for example in the Bunraku-style.
Body parts: the puppet consists of only a head, a hand or other part of a body, representing the full figure. The puppet depends on the puppeteer to appear ‘complete’. Body parts allow the puppeteer to move fast and to express himself in (almost) limitless ways.