For Month of Performance Art, MOMENTUM curates a month-long program of Performance Sundays entitled Works On Paper. This exhibition series inverts usual assumptions, inviting performance artists to use paper both as form and as content; not as a blank slate upon which to create, but as a dynamic building block with which to create. Bringing together a diverse group of international artists based in Berlin, MOMENTUM invites them to work on paper and with paper to activate all the possibilities of the medium in unexpected ways. Working through durational performance, instruction pieces, physical and social architecture, live performance in dialogue with video performance, and a diversity of individual practices, Works On Paper invokes the breadth of performance art to reimagine paper: this most traditional of artistic media.
The pile of paper containing thousands and thousands of sheets is reminiscent of laborious and repetitive exercises that are used for drill, punishment or mastering a skill. In this sense of an ongoing production and reproduction the pile also generates a metaphor for something one sits on top of in order to breed and keep alive, like a pile of eggs and in a more abstract sense a set of rules and traditions or a system.
In its multitude the sheets of paper become a solid body, which cannot only be marked on the surface, but also carved into, penetrated and shaped both literally and metaphorically. While the structure – the appearance of the pile – remains intact on the outside, changes occur on the inside. Both destroying and building, this penetration of the body may be regarded in a political context as a metaphor for underground movements and the act of undermining systems and ideologies, until they eventually collapse. In the context of scholarly, repetitive exercises the two performers take on the roles of master and disciple.
The seeming authority of the observer or the master is in itself a failure within the system, as the action carried out on top of the pile is not completely visible. Both the observer and the observed are aware of each others presence and their limited control. Somewhat both roles are interchangable, so that everyone is the observer and simultaneously the observed. The acceptance of this ritual is an absurdity in itself, however, it is so that systems continue to function or are eventually changed.
From Germany and Argentina respectively the artists are drawing on their personal histories as well as those of their countries, challenging current political systems and social power structures (class, gender, race, religion) still shaping our times.
Video shot and edited by Igor Dimitri
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?