The LIMA Collection Tour: Performance

The development of performance and media art are closely intertwined. Artists working with performance were quick to recognise the potential of video to document their live works, to be incorporated within their works staging, or to be used as the stage itself with artists performing directly for the camera and broadcast. Alongside this, the growing prevalence of mass media within contemporary culture also saw artists progressively move from performing simple conceptual propositions, to increasingly complicated inter-media exchanges where the form and structure of media culture became the subject of their work.

For the screening programme Performance, curators Frederique Bergholtz and Susan Gibb (If I Can’t Dance, I Don’t Want To Be Part Of Your Revolution), considered these relationships between performance and media art through a selection of works drawn from across the historical scope of LIMA’s collection. Moving from the early seventies to the contemporary moment, the screening programme traced shifts in how artists have structured bodies in front of the camera to critically consider the live and recorded moment in performance and media.

The screening programme was presented in two sections. The first section included four works produced during the early years of video art: Douglas Davis, The Florence Tapes (1974); Dan Graham, Performance/Audience/Mirror (1977); Joan Jonas, Left Side Right Side (1973); and General Idea, Blocking (1974). Each of these works captures a sense of the immediacy of a live performance, while also self-consciously referencing the screen, mirrors, and the camera, to display the artists’ awareness of their construction of a mediated image and the shifts in perception and temporality created through a performance’s recording. The second section of the screening brought together four works produced from the 1980s through to the 2000s: John Adams, Bob and Jill (Pt. 2) (1982); Lawrence Weiner, Plowmans Lunch (1982); Emmanuelle Antille, Wouldn’t It Be Nice (1999); and Keren Cytter, Untitled (2007). Each of these works are characterised by advancements in technology and support for the production of video by artists since the mediums early years, often resulting in ambitious made for screen productions. Each of these works also share an interest in adopting and disrupting the staging conventions of performances for cinema, television and theatre.

Across the broad historical scope and the diverse approaches by each of the artists presented in Performance, the screening programme sought to provide an expansive view on how performance could be approached and read across media art.


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