Friday, April 30, 2010

Past Sculptures

My second blog post is again less a theoretical investigation on a particular matter than a question or an experiment.

I have to admit that the recent show of Marina Abramovic does less strike and entertain me because of the artworks themselves (although I have to say that I respect and appreciate her body of work very much) or because of theoretical references we tempt to force on art works; rather it interests me as a new step or understanding that she provides us on performance art. I am not sure whether this is a critical point or it is just how performance art is developing in its organic way and whether there should be less resistant against this development. We'll see.

But what I mean with a new step in performance art is that I think Abramovic denied a very specific element of performance art which is the event, the actions performed on-site and on the specificity of time. Time specificity and site specificity. So what happens if we deny this element and just concentrate on the concept or the script of the performance? A script which usually is in itself open and again based on the site and the time in which it will be performed. Even the term 'to perform' is in my opinion not the right term. But because of the lack of English I can not suggest another term at this moment. So what happens here if we just take the script and the plan of an already happened event/performance; what happens if just take the documentation of it and let it be re-enacted by other performers? Can we still talk about performance art? Or are we talking about objects? Isn't it the same as 'living sculptures' of Gilbert and George?

In the case of Marina's 'The Artist is Present,' I think that all we perceive in her show are objects in the form of documentation material or sculpture. Nothing there is time- and site-specific anymore. Everything is ruled by a plan. Even the exhibition design was based on the plans and scripts of the performances. There is no space for process. There are guards and rules who tell you how to be in this space. Everything is an re-enactment and theater. It is nostalgia. It is past. The artist is not present. The artist is object. The artist is past. And I will be able to buy the artist.


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