A performance by Abner Preis (with Joy Wellboy) during the exhibition Running with Rocky ... downtown art gallery night, april 20th 2012.
The enduring things tend to be simple. I’m remembering this after a week of Art Brussels and the energy, information and non-stop movement it brings to town. My liver hates me. The bags under my eyes betray me. My local kebab shop loves me. In the fog of it, a simple story comes first to mind.
It begins at a birthday party in March. I met a couple there. The first thing the guy said to me after ‘hello’, came in the context of a discussion about cuts to state support of arts and culture. ‘I don’t mind. It separates the men from the boys.’ I liked him immediately. With his girlfriend Joy, he performs as part of a musical duo called Joy Wellboy and last Wednesday, I introduced Wim and Joy to an artist named Abner Preis who asked if they’d be part of a performance two days later.
I love these sort of unexpected and open encounters. It is an example of the nature of all collaborative production and means making concessions, sharing responsibility and allowing anarchism to subvert the conversation.
On Friday night Joy Wellboy began to play in a doorway for an audience of four people. Thirty minutes later, when Abner came running up the stairs and out to the street in a pink bathrobe with ‘Italian Stallion,’ taped onto it, the audience had grown to around one hundred. ‘I’m going to do something big and I need your help guys,’ Abner shouted as he jabbed at the night. This ‘something big’ was ten push-ups as part of an energetic homage to Rocky Balboa- the people’s champion. For seven minutes Joy Wellboy and the growing crowd cheered and insulted Rocky before applauding his eventual success as the slapstick performance ended.
The political comment wasn’t the flag taped to Rocky’s bottom or Joy’s lovely vocal aggressions. All production is entangled in a political paradigm, and the comment being made could be read in the process and the collectivist traditions of anarchy it encouraged as the public got in on the physicality of the act.
To quote the title of an outstanding exhibition (curated by the PAE) at the Brakke Grond last year, ‘The More Crisis, The More Performance.’ It’s sustainable and speaks of qualities we all need right now, like endurance, empathy and invention. It also energized one of the evenings that remains most vivid after an intense week.
In addition to thanking all of the artists who participated and people who came out on the night, we'd like to thank Eavan from Jameson's.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?