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9 MORE FUN FACTS ABOUT MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ THAT WILL SURPRISE YOU

10 Nov
Abramovic

BONUS fun fact: Marina’s head is actually very loosely balanced on her neck and it could fall off at any time!

Here are nine more facts about Madge Ab that will surprise you and fun you, inspired by this listicle of great importance which is definitely not filler hackwork at Artnet News, in which we learn that the “grandmother of performance art”* did performance art at a museum, her mother didn’t like seeing pictures of her daughter’s breasts, and she affects not to like being famous despite gleefully hanging out with the Beyoncé family and Lady Gaga. None of these are particularly surprising or fun facts and nor are the other six “fun”, “surprising” facts surprising or fun, but what can you do? Clickbait headlines gonna bait clicks.

* Not the nice grandmother, the other grandmother that the mother and grandchildren of performance art would really like to get put away in a care home for her own good because she’s always been a bit unhinged with a nasty streak but now she insists on getting her tits out, telling everyone how when she was a girl she used to eat sawdust soup every day and it never did her any harm, making sexual advances to furniture, and ranting that everyone should stop staring at her even though she does everything possible to seek attention.

1. Her body is made of Play Doh and cannot be destroyed!

Repairing herself is a simple matter of squashing the bits back together. Abramović occasionally stains upholstery or sticks to carpets, and may become dry and brittle if left out too long. She should never be consumed even though she smells like cake. Her face, however, is made of papier-mache and needs to be replaced every few days. It has become less realistic over the past few decades, and the artist herself has said “I don’t want realistic face because this word realistic I hate, it spell out ‘real I stick’ and I get the lifelong dislike of real stick from my mother who I think never love me. Ha ha.”

2 If all her ideas were laid out end to end, they would reach almost halfway from the doors of New York’s MoMA on West 53rd Street to the kerb!

3 She is a huge fan of Magic Roundabout, Jamie and the Magic Torch, Chorlton and the Wheelies, and other British children’s television shows from the 1970s!

Abramović says, “I don’t know why nobody has noticed that they are so trippy, it seem people who make shows are on drug. Perhaps because I am artist I notice this thing.”

4 In another unexpected connection to children’s television, Abramović was due to guest star in the third series of Fraggle Rock, but all her scenes ended up on the cutting room floor!

When asked why, the late Jim Henson would always just shake his head sadly but not answer.

Fraggle-Rock

5 When you point at something, Abramović always looks at the end of your finger instead of the item you are indicating!

6 Abramović has all her emails typed out on paper by an assistant, photographed and developed as daguerreotypes by another assistant, transcribed by a third assistant and then finally sent via Hotmail by Abramović clicking with her finger over the assistant’s finger on the mouse!

She says, “I have sacrificed the direct communication by force of my art, some people cannot cope with this I know but is like essential act for serenity of my finger.”

7 Sometimes, when a person complains about Abramović talking with her mouth full, she shows them the semi-masticated, unswallowed food in it and laughs!

8 There is a time travelling cyborg version of Marina Abramović but she and Abramović Prime have been forbidden to ever meet each other by officials from NASA and the CIA!

Abramović’s only public comment on the subject came during her recent Q&A with Justin Bieber at Harvard: “This to me is like fascism. I am serious artist or something and so I think I can decide if spacetime continuum totally collapse or not because of my action! Ha ha.”

Terminator

9 She says “newkiller” instead of “nuclear” and “expresso” instead of “espresso”, and she doesn’t even understand why people keep correcting her!

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TOP TEN THINGS TO SEE AT EDINBURGH FRINGE 2015!

7 Aug

PPBorborygmusArtCriticBY GUEST CRITIC JJ GOUT-HOUSEBOAT, FRINGE THEATRE CORRESPONDENT AT LARGE FOR A MAGAZINE THAT NEVER NORMALLY BOTHERS WITH THEATRE OR PERFORMANCE ART BUT HE’S IN A NICE HOTEL, ALL EXPENSES PAID IN EDINBURGH FOR A WEEK ANYWAY.

Buckfast001

  1. Four 22 year olds who graduated from Cambridge and Footlights last year, with Tory hair, brand new iPhones, and tiny, very tight trousers they can only pull about halfway towards their crotches. What’s their show about? Doesn’t matter! They’ll have a series on the BBC and be in every weekend supplement within twelve months anyway. Tough shit, peasant. Just give up now!
  2. A version of a classic play you hated because you were forced to study it at school, that a theatre company tries to trick you into liking by “reinventing” it as funny, contemporary, etc. Failing that, it will be exactly the same as any other production except for no good reason it’s in New Guinea pidgin, Mandarin Chinese, Esperanto, or some other language few people in the audience are likely to understand! None of the actors are being paid but one night the director will buy them all chips and two battered sausages from a chip shop near the shockingly overpriced flat in Wester Hailes they rented from an opportunistic local!
  3. Something shocking and controversial about a shocking, controversial subject that has never been broached in drama or art LIKE EVER, such as war, abortion, and so forth! None of the actors are being paid!
  4. A comedian angling for a seat on a shitty comedy panel TV programme, who doesn’t really give a toss about the audience except for when they give him or her an opportunity to use one of their pre-written putdowns or heckler-stoppers! Or some high concept standup by a still quite young but totally raddled comedian who already has or used to have a TV show on the BBC or Channel 4, but nobody watches it!
  5. Performance artist who is reducing herself or himself to penury before your very eyes just to be there in the hope of getting some kind of big break, even though you don’t know it and wouldn’t care if you did know! She or he is not only not being paid, but also accumulating more debt by the minute! So are 95% of the other performers and directors in Fringe shows!
  6. Clown, acrobatic or mime show with edgy, urban marketing to make you think it isn’t just a circus act! Surprise! It’s a circus act! JokerMimes
  7. Massive production that shouldn’t really be on the fringe but is good for PR and a loss leader for all the other crap that hardly anybody will bother seeing! The actors are being paid slightly less than Equity minimum! One of them has played a hospital patient in Holby City!
  8. Show that only people who work in theatre and/or the media care about or understand. No civilians present or wanted! The performers don’t need to be paid because their partners have proper jobs, most likely proper jobs in theatre or the media!
  9. Recycled touring show from five years ago by a dead-eyed, palpably bored and burnt out theatre company, none of whom are being paid!
  10. One man show about something geeky like Star Wars or Game of Thrones, with a punning title and a poster upon which the one man takes what will probably be his only opportunity to dress up as Princess Leia or whoever! He thinks he’s going to be paid, but he isn’t!

ARTBOLLOCKS THEATRE S3E5: AURATIC

8 Apr

“HI K8, H8 UR WORK”

Dramatic readings of the worst artist statements, gallery press releases and art criticism. All real, all serious, all horribly written. I apologise in advance for any foreign or jargon words that I accidentally pronounced correctly. This time, at a gallery in Graz (Austria):

An artist “resists artisanal virtuosity” which I think may be someone being polite about the artist being quite crap at all the things she’s chosen to do as part of her art practice.

Another artist is a painter who apparently ignores colours and the canvas, which takes some doing when not ignoring colours and the canvas is pretty much your entire job description as a painter.

The third artist’s works in wood are impossible to distinguish from ordinary bits of wood that are not art, except they are art. All clear? Good.

You can play along with your Artbollocks Bingo card, and you can watch more Artbollocks Theatre here on the blog or on my Vimeo channel.

First thing’s first: I usually make a point of not looking at any work by the artists mentioned (negatively) here for two main reasons. Reason one is that the artists and galleries who write these kinds of nonsense texts need to either learn that 99% of people who read their statements will see little or nothing of the exhibition or the artist’s work, and therefore write in a way that makes sense in this context… or they need to stop deliberately relying upon the fact that 99% of people won’t see the work because it gives them carte blanche to make insupportable claims for the art and for the artist.

The second reason is that– despite how ugly it undoubtedly feels to be told that your carefully wrought artist statement is sheer bollocks– I usually try to kick the ball and not the player. In other words, to criticise the writing and bad impression it gives of the artist rather than directly attacking them as a person. This would usually be futile, presumptuous and a waste of good venom anyway since I don’t know them.

However, I’m really tempted to break this rule right now because the first artist is a grown woman who chooses to go by the name of “K8”, i.e. and presumably because Kate or Katherine seemed less cool and urban to her for some reason probably best dealt with in private, not in an art gallery. Artists who give themselves stupid names really fucking get up my nose. This was a tiresome and immediately recognisable cliché of the Shoreditch Twat, Marais Moron or Williamsburg Wanker when Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris lampooned it on their Channel 4 show Nathan Barley ten frigging years ago. See 15peter20, below. Guess what? It’s still unforgivably precious and irritating now. That means you too, Marvin Gaye Chesspiece or whatever you’re calling yourself this week. Grow up.

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15peter20

8nyw8y, K8, if U evr see me 0ut + 8b0ut, 1nstea6 of t8lk1ng 2 U, 1’11 c0mmun1c8te w1th U 1n 8n 8ppr0pr18 m8nner by sen61ng U th1s fr0m meye f0ne:

╭∩╮(-_-)╭∩╮

That’s two middle fingers, by the way, not a very contented man with his face between two small penises.

Her works of art garner performative energy from various fields and studies, frequently from the area of fashion, for example, and generally from current forms of representation and modi of self-presentation in digital-based social networks. In the process, she avoids committing herself to a single artistic medium, eludes artisanal virtuosity in photography, sculpture, and video, and produces as if drawing on a gigantic maelstrom of self-documentation and fashionable, queer-visionary transformation of identity.

In a video work designated as “Outfitumentary” by the artist, which is shown in the exhibition in condensed excerpts, she has been documenting her opulent and frenzied changes of clothing since 2001, along with the related signal change within a lesbian subculture and projections of yearning in general. This documentation of a quest for self-invention and the critical examination of identity-seeking and related mediatic breaches lead the fashion items being worn in front of the camera to lose significance. Also evident is the act of refocusing on the artist herself as immersed in perpetual change and the similarly shifting sites of self-documentation playing out here. This high-velocity switching of roles and the concurrent societal pressure to cultivate and express one’s image is one of the themes long explored by Hardy. This aims to challenge the role of the artist, along with the authentic embodiment of this role, within veritable capitalist systems of reproduction and the formatting of the self manifesting there. In her unconventional, artistic elaborations, which take the form of sculpture, light boxes, or photographs, Hardy is likewise concerned with lending visibility to emancipatory means and potentials.

So, she likes dressing up and showing off, which could be performance art but could also just be dressing up and showing off like several million other women and men who do “high velocity switching of roles”, “self documentation” and various takes on “societal pressure” on YouTube, but whose actions are deemed below the level of Fine Art. What is “performative energy” and how does one gather it? “Eludes artisanal virtuosity in photography, sculpture, and video” is probably a hilarious euphemism for “her work looks really bad, but, um… we’re gonna say it’s deliberate, OK?” I’ve seen this excuse a lot, right up to the Venice biennale. The artists are always resisting hegemonic ideas, questioning conventional modes of representation and whatnot. They’re never just presenting bad work because they can’t (or can’t be bothered to) do any better, or because they’ve never shaken the sneering undergraduate pose that being good at anything or serious about anything is uncool, nor indeed the sneering undergraduate notion that being thought of as cool matters at all in the long run. Not that most contemporary artists have a long run.

As for the lesbian signal change, I fear this is just a highfalutin way of saying K8 has changed her look over the years and she likes trying on new clothes. Which most of us do, but most of us aren’t claiming it’s art. One would hope that in the days of “check your privilege” we wouldn’t still be seeing any one curator (or lesbian) claiming to represent a whole “subculture”, even if they believe that they own it in some way, as is strongly implied by her “lending” it. To throw back at them a word that I’m sure the curator of this exhibition would like, saying anybody represents all lesbians and has the right to “lend” them emancipation is very “othering” (i.e. retrograde, sexist, offensive and putting up unhelpful barriers), not to mention being an example of exactly the kind of arrogant, belligerent intra- and extra-community “signal” policing that makes life more difficult for homosexual people who don’t fit with some other folks’ idea of how they should be “emancipated” and reifies homophobic prejudices that they “know” what a lesbian or a gay man looks and acts like.

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