This book represents the first attempt to write a comprehensive account of performance art in Eastern Europe - the former communist, socialist and Soviet countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe - since the 1960s. It demonstrates performance art, which encompasses a range of genres, among them body art, happenings, actions and performance. In exploring the manifestations and meanings of performance art, the book highlights the diversity of artistic practice, moments and ways in which performance emerged, and its relationship to each country's sociopolitical climate. The book discusses 21 countries and over 250 artists, exploring the manner in which performance art developed concurrently with the genre in the West. It examines how artists used their bodies in performance to navigate the degrees of state control over artistic production and cultivate personalised forms of individual integration and self-expression of body, gender, politics, identity, and institutional critique. A comparative analysis of examples of performance art addressing gender-related issues from across the socialist and post-socialist East is then presented. The themes addressed provide local cultural and historical references in works concerning beauty, women's sexuality and traditional notions of gender. Artists' efforts to cope with the communist environment, the period of transition and the complexities of life in the post-communist era are highlighted. Artists during the communist period adopted performance art as a free-form, open-ended means of expression to give voice to concepts, relationships and actions that otherwise would not have been possible in the official realm of art.
Unlimited action concerns the limits imposed upon art and life, and the means by which artists have exposed, refused or otherwise reshaped the horizon of aesthetics and of the practice of art, by way of performance art. It examines the ‘performance of extremity’ as practices at the limits of the histories of performance and art, in performance art’s most fertile and prescient decade, the 1970s. This book recounts and analyses game-changing performance events by six artists: Kerry Trengove, Ulay, Genesis P-Orridge, Anne Bean, the Kipper Kids and Stephen Cripps. Through close encounters with these six artists and their works, and a broader contextual milieu of artists and works, Johnson articulates a counter-history of actions in a new narrative of performance art in the 1970s, to rethink and rediscover the history of contemporary art and performance.
This article explores the reception and transformation of William Blake’s countercultural legacy by focusing on the neo-Romantic resurgences within maelstrÖm reEvolution, an experimental performance and arts collective based in Brussels but with heavy transnational affiliations. In relation to the company’s neo-shamanic and therapeutic conception of poiesis, Blake is an inspirational figure amongst a broader family of mentors ranging from Beat Generation writers to Arthur Rimbaud and Alexandro Jodorowsky. The Blake–maelstrÖm connection is here examined for the first time. Blending classical reception studies with a broader interest in the intersections between poiesis and the ‘sacred’, this article approaches countercultural Blake as the archetypal embodiment of the shamanic poet. More specifically, it reflects on how, as the poet of ‘double-edged madness’ and ‘Spiritual Strife’, Blake’s subversion of alienation into ecstasy feeds maelstrÖm’s own ‘therapoetic’ experimentalism and psycho-aesthetic endeavours to restore the lines of communication between the ‘visible’ and the ‘invisible’.
This book presents a study that undertakes an examination of participatory practices in contemporary theatre, performance and the visual arts, setting these against the broader social and political horizons of civic participation. It reconsiders the status of participation, with particular emphasis on participatory art both beyond a judgement of its social qualities as well as the confines of format and devising. The book attempts a cross-disciplinary discussion of participation, bringing together examples from the field of applied and community theatre, performance art and participatory visual arts. Gestures of participation in performance indicate possibilities for reconfiguring civic participation in public spaces in unexpected ways. Thus, less emphasis is laid on direct opposition and instead seeking a variety of modes of resisting co-optation, through unsolicited, vicarious or delicate gestures of participation. The book examines the question of institutional critique in relation to participatory art. It moves on to address the relationship between participatory art and the concept of 'impact'. A close examination of one workshop setting using the methodological framework of the 'theatre of the oppressed' in the context of a political party-led initiative follows. The book follows two conceptually inspired performance projects Where We Are Not? and If I Could Take Your Place? Finally, it emphasizes on how common-sense assumptions around audience participation in theatre and performance theory are called into question by the artwork's foregrounding of sleep as a mode of participation.
Celebrated as a leader of London’s ‘Underground’ in the 1960–70s, and a leading British poet and performance artist of his time, Jeff Nuttall found fame through his critique of post-nuclear culture, Bomb Culture, which provided an influential rationale for artistic practice through absurdism but lost that recognition a decade or so later. Less well recognised, and with greater influence, is the distinctively visceral sensibility underlying much of his creative work, notably his poetry that draws on Dylan Thomas and the Beat Movement, his graphic drawing and luscious painting styles, and his pioneering performance art. This article argues that it is through these artistic expressions of visceral intelligence that Jeff Nuttall’s art and its long-term influence can now best be understood. It is intended to complement the Jeff Nuttall Papers in the Special Collections of The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, University of Manchester, deposited by the gallerist and poetry publisher Robert Bank (1941–2015), to whose memory this article is dedicated. Further papers have been added by Nuttall’s friends and relatives.
Artists working in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe during the communist period adopted performance art as a free-form, open-ended means of expression to give voice to concepts, relationships and actions that otherwise would not have been possible in the official realm of art or in the public sphere. In the post-communist period, artists continued to embrace the experimental nature of performance. They have likewise utilised performance art to articulate issues of concern, including those related to national and other forms of identity that have
Many creative intellectuals have written or spoken of their pilgrimage to meet the English/Mexican, surrealist-associated artist and writer Leonora Carrington (1917–2011) as being a profound encounter. Since her death in May 2011, there have been a profusion of creative responses to her and her work, from theatrical productions to experimental performances, from electronica to folk music, and from fashion photography to curatorial projects.
This survey or curating of Carrington unpicks why artists, writers and performers, especially creative women, have become preoccupied with making work in her legacy. Such fixations and fandom move beyond mere influence, offering a way of approaching art-making and political themes as an attitude or Zeitgeist. The study focuses on the ways in which Carrington is recycled, in the writing of Chloe Aridjis and Heidi Sopinka, the conceptual art of Lucy Skaer and Tilda Swinton, and the performative practice of Samantha Sweeting, Lynn Lu, and Double Edge Theatre in order to speak to current feminist and eco-critical campaigns such as #MeToo and Writers Rebel.
The book’s feminist-surrealist emphasis proposes that it is Carrington, and not one of the central players in surrealism like André Breton and Max Ernst, who is chief in keeping the surrealist message alive today.
The monument debates of the past decade, together with concerns over systemic injustice, extraction economies, and ecological disaster, as well as phenomena of global migrations and tourism, and the interleaving of live and mediated images and experience on social media, have given rise to new practices of public art and commemoration. Artists often strive to represent not specific events, persons, or points of agreement, but vast contentious problems—for publics at home and abroad, on the ground and online. A new site-specificity and media-friendly approaches to conveying it, sometimes via objects, sometimes through ‘transparent’ photographic mediums, come to the fore in recent monumental art, but also in debates about what to do with older monuments and architecture in urban space, particularly when these are the products of terror that require removal, modification, or other forms or recontextualization. Taking case studies ranging from Chicago and Berlin to Oslo, Bucharest, and Hong Kong, in media ranging from marble and glass to cardboard boxes, graffiti, and the re-enactment of historical documents, the book argues that history is being materialized by contemporary artists and activists in a register that harks back to the engaged realism of nineteenth-century art, updated to do justice both to embodied experiences of caring, and also to vaster, less tangible systems of power and information.
This book represents the first attempt to write a comprehensive account of performance art in Eastern Europe – the former communist, socialist and Soviet countries of Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe – since the 1960s. It is indebted to groundbreaking studies on the subject such as Zdenka Badovinac’s Body and the East: From the 1960s to the Present (1998), the first exhibition to examine body art practices in the region, which was accompanied by a catalogue that serves as a precursor to the present volume. As this book will demonstrate
Thank god for the so-called Iron Curtain … this perfect isolation meant that we did not degenerate as swiftly or as tragically as the rest of Europe. There, art became titillation, a delicacy, a topic of conversation. Our activities are not experimental art, but necessary activity. – Milan Knížák, 1966 Pre-history In Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present , Roselee Goldberg outlines the development of performance in Western Europe and North America, pointing to its origins in Futurism and Dada in the early years of the twentieth century. From