Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art – 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年

Every body is working in performance. And there’s a lot of it around. Two major new volumes situate the last decade of contemporary art’s most rambunctious medium: RoseLee Goldberg’s Performance Now (Thames and Hudson, 2018) and Catherine Wood’s Performance in Contemporary Art (Tate Publishing, 2018). These are texts that expand from the authors’ respective archives at Performa, New York, and Tate Modern, London, where the performance programmes they have shepherded have become institutions unto themselves.

Both accounts challenge any (Peggy Phelan’s) claim for unfettered, body-centric ‘liveness’ as commensurate with authenticity and quality. Both authors acknowledge that their writing shares the task of conveying the medium with photography and whatever scattered documentation remains after the event. Both allude to the increasing importance of moving image, often from a work’s inception, with Goldberg naming ‘performance-film’ as part of its ontology and Wood noting that, from the late 1970s, ‘a more media-literate form of self-representation was made possible by innovations in video technology’. While Goldberg is alone in her exploration of how museum infrastructures and collecting policies have been updated to accommodate performance, so too is Wood when she acknowledges her professional role, registering both its privileges and perspectival limitations when researching works across generations, continents, cultures and communities.


Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art - 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年

Pina Bausch, Vollmond, 2006, performance documentation, Schauspielhaus Wuppertal. Courtesy: © Laurent Philippe 

Goldberg’s book is set exclusively post-2000 and maintains the large-scale format of her previous volumes: Performance: Live Art, 1909 to the Present (1979) and Performance: Live Art Since the 60s (1998), both published by Thames and Hudson. Six thematic essays are followed by constellations of examples, constituted through performance stills and single paragraph descriptions. These arrangements interrupt sequential reading but free her examples between chapters. In the second, ‘World Citizenship’, Goldberg introduces a global field of performance, marking the rise of art capitals in India, the inherent dangers of live performance in communist China and the ‘agit-prop stunts’ of artist performers who have congregated in step with the formation of the 15 post-Soviet states. A subsequent chapter charts political reckonings and activist tendencies, both domestic and international – productions that are anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, feminist, anti-racist, anti-homophobic and anti-transphobic.

Such breadth of individuated activities covered within relatively short essays could, in less capable hands, seem ill-advised, but Goldberg’s specificity of language means that transitions between crisp descriptions and concise analyses of contexts are consistently thought-provoking. Three latter chapters note developments in dance, theatre and architecture in this first phase of the new millennium, focusing on these disciplines’ avant-gardes and creative fringes rather than art’s appropriation of their vocabularies, gestures and logics. What Goldberg plants with these essays, which will prove instructive to emerging artists with cross-disciplinary ambitions while also providing a way into art discourse for non-specialised readers, will no doubt continue to bear fruit across both the medium and its corresponding scholarly and curatorial fields.


Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art - 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年

Tania Bruguera, Tatlin’s Whisper #5, performance documentation, Tate Modern, London, 2008. Courtesy: Tate

Wood adopts a different approach. Her book claims to be neither a history of performance as a genre nor a survey, but rather a study that ‘works backward from the present, trying to understand how we got here by looking at a necessarily limited selection of artists who are representative of historical imperatives in this area.’ Distancing herself from Goldberg’s lifelong project of establishing performance’s contiguity with other mediums, Wood proposes performance’s value to be in its ability to act within these media – as within institutions, as within various social or political formations. Performance and ‘the performative’ are nouns used interchangeably by Goldberg, as has become the norm, but Wood plumbs the latter’s etymology in linguistic and critical theory in order to address its capacity to instigate or rehearse temporary change upon, within or against whichever normative circumstances it chooses.

‘Performance in contemporary art’, Wood claims, ‘might essentially be said to connote a space not just for performed action, but a space of active relations: a space in which things happen.’ To accommodate this mobility, and create transversal connections between waves of simultaneous, autonomous, globally distributed artworks, Wood arranges her analysis through three sections: ‘I’, ‘We’ and ‘It’. Within these is an exploration of how, from the 1960s to present, performance has challenged or reconstructed notion of ‘I’ (as a proxy for the artist, the self, self-imagination and self-perception), ‘We’ (the group, collective, community, society and state) and ‘It’ (the contingent object, artwork, institution or social infrastructure).


Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art - 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年

Pussy Riot, Punk Prayer, 2012, performance documentation, Red Square, Moscow. Courtesy: Debus Sinyakov 

Wood makes no claims about performance as a uniform mode of political, social or institutional critique, but instead suggests its facility for a critical contamination of any given environment through a number of her descriptions, as like a vapour, virus or mist. Thus, Fujiko Nakaya’s ‘fog objects’ reveal the vectors and currents in each space with ‘continuing, shifting unpredictability’; Mette Ingvartsen’s dancers move beneath silver confetti, summoning ‘a landscape in constant transformation’; and Paul Maheke dances between scrims, screens and projections, ‘to assert his own presence, all the while creating layers of erasure, and flows between surfaces that point to the permeable boundaries of the subject’. Laboratoire Agit’Art’s multi-part performances privilege ‘shared experience’ over ‘material fixity’, while Isabel Lewis’s ‘ambient atmospheres’ disperse discourse’s heavy object by her voicing of it within stimulating, multi-sensory installations.


Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art - 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年

Otobong Nkanga, DIAOPTASIA, 2015, performance documentation, Tate Modern, London. Courtesy: Tate 

To recommend one volume over another would be to recommend the horizontal over the vertical. They do different things to different things at different times. But one thought lingered throughout: both authors, time allowing, ought to step away from the institutions they have built and the publishers that have long since supported those activities and reflect, with the depth of which they are both wholly and perhaps uniquely capable, about their own substantial and pivotal roles in bringing performance to what is arguably a central focus of contemporary art discourse and practice. That is, that they might write between the works, in order to detail what inevitably gets lost in ambitious programmes and medium-wide accounts such as these, tracing the intricacies, complexities and inevitable challenges of their own performances along the way.

RoseLee Goldberg’s Performance Now: Live Art for the 21st Century (2018) is published by Thames & Hudson; Catherine Wood’s Performance in Contemporary Art (2018) is published by Tate Publishing. 

Main image: Didier Faustino, Hand Architecture, 2009, performance documentation, LAXArt, Los Angeles. Courtesy: the artist

Isobel Harbison

Isobel Harbison is an art critic based in London. Her book, Performing Image, will be published by the MIT Press later this year.

Opinion /

Performance Art
Catherine Wood
RoseLee Goldberg
New York
Tate Modern

每个人都在工作。周围有很多。最近十年,当代艺术最繁琐的媒介——罗斯·李·戈德堡(RoseLee Goldberg’s Performance.)(泰晤士河和哈德森,2018)和凯瑟琳·伍德(Catherine Wood’sPerformanceinContentionalArt)(泰特出版社,2018)出版了两本主要的新书。这些文本是从作者分别在纽约Performa和伦敦Tate Modern的档案中扩充而来的,在那里,他们领导的表演节目已经成为他们自己的机构。这两种说法都对(佩吉·费兰)声称的与真实性和质量相称的无拘无束、以身体为中心的“活力”提出质疑。两位作者都承认,他们的写作与摄影分享了传播媒介的任务,以及活动之后遗留下来的零星文件。两者都暗示了运动图像的重要性日益增加,通常从一部作品诞生之日起,Goldberg就把“表演电影”作为其本体论的一部分,Wood指出,从70年代末期开始,通过视频技术的创新,一种媒体知识更丰富的自我表现形式成为可能。技术。当Goldberg独自探索博物馆的基础设施和收集政策如何被更新以适应性能时,Wood也是如此,当她承认自己的专业角色时,在研究一般作品时,她既记录了它的特权,也记录了它的洞察力限制。土地、文化和社区。pg.jpg Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art - 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年 Pina Bausch, Vollmond, 2006,性能文档, Schauspielhaus Wuppertal.礼貌:劳伦特·菲利普·戈德伯格的书只定于2000年后出版,并保持了泰晤士河和哈德森出版的前几卷《表演:现场艺术,1909年至今(1979年)》和《表演:60年代以来现场艺术》(1998年)的大型格式。六篇专题论文之后是范例星座,通过表演剧照和单段落描述构成。这些安排中断了顺序阅读,但在章节之间释放了她的例子。在第二部《世界公民》中,戈德伯格介绍了一个全球性的表演领域,标志着印度艺术之都的兴起,共产主义中国现场表演的固有危险,以及随着“世界公民”的形成而聚集起来的艺术家表演者的“鼓动支柱特技”。苏联15个州。接下来的章节列出了国内和国际的政治考虑和激进主义倾向,包括反资本主义、反法西斯、女权主义、反种族主义、反恐同性恋和反恐外心理。在相对较短的论文中涵盖的这种广泛的个性化活动在能力较弱的人手中看起来是不明智的,但是Goldberg对语言的特殊性意味着在简洁的描述和简明的上下文分析之间的过渡始终是发人深省的。后三章指出在新千年的第一阶段,舞蹈、戏剧和建筑学的发展,着重于这些学科的前卫和创造性边缘,而不是艺术对其词汇、手势和逻辑的占用。戈德伯格用这些散文创作的作品,对那些有跨学科抱负的新兴艺术家来说将证明是有益的,同时也为非专业的读者提供一条进入艺术话语的道路,毫无疑问,它将继续在媒体及其相应的学术和艺术上结出硕果。庄园。id_099.jpg Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art - 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年 Tania Bruguera,Tatlin's Whisper#5,性能文档,Tate.,伦敦,2008。礼貌:泰特伍德采用了不同的方法。她的书声称既不是一个表演流派的历史,也不是一个调查,而是一个研究“从现在开始倒退,试图通过考察代表这一领域历史必要性的艺术家的必然有限的选择来理解我们是如何到达这里的。”伍德将自己与戈德伯格的终身项目区分开来,即建立与其他媒体的绩效联系,她提出绩效的价值在于它能够在这些媒体内行动——如在机构内,如在各种社会或政治组织内。“表演”和“表演”是戈德堡经常使用的名词,但伍德在语言学和批评理论中查找后者的词源,以解决其煽动或排练根据任何规范、在规范内或反对任何规范的临时变化的能力。它选择的环境。伍德声称,“现代艺术中的表演”可能本质上意味着一个空间,不仅是表演活动的空间,而是一个积极关系的空间:一个事物发生的空间。”诺曼底,全球分布的艺术品,Wood通过三个部分来安排她的分析:“我”、“我们”和“它”。从二十世纪六十年代到现在,表演如何挑战或重建“我”(作为艺术家、自我、自我想象和自我感知的代表)、“我们”(团体、集体、社区、社会和国家)和“它”(偶然事件)的概念。项目、艺术品、机构或社会基础设施)。pg1.jpg Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art - 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年 Pussy Riot,Punk Prayer,2012,表演文件,莫斯科红场。礼貌:德布斯·辛亚科夫·伍德没有宣称作为政治、社会或体制批评的统一模式的表现,而是通过她的一些描述,如蒸汽、病毒,暗示了它对任何特定环境造成严重污染的能力。或雾。因此,藤子名家的“雾物”揭示了每个空间的矢量和电流,具有“持续、移动的不可预测性”;梅特·英格瓦森的舞蹈演员在银色的五彩纸屑下面移动,召唤“不断变化的风景”;保罗·马赫克在薄纱、屏幕之间跳舞。和投射,'断言他自己的存在,同时创建擦除层,并在指向对象的可渗透边界的表面之间流动'。实验室Agit’Art的多部分表演优先于‘物质固定’的‘共享体验’,而Isabel Lewis的‘环境氛围’则通过她在刺激的多感官装置里对沉重的话语的发音来分散话语对象。pg2.jpg Two Books Survey and Situate the Last Decade of Performance Art - 两本书审视和定位表演艺术的最后十年 Otobong Nkanga, DIAOPTASIA, 2015,性能文档, Tate.,伦敦。礼貌:泰特推荐一个音量超过另一个音量,建议在垂直方向上水平。他们在不同的时间做不同的事情。但有一个想法始终萦绕在心头:如果时间允许,两位作者都应该远离他们建立的机构和长期以来一直支持这些活动的出版商,并且以他们完全、也许是独特的能力,深入地反思他们自己的子公司。在实现当代艺术话语和实践的中心焦点方面,反作用和关键作用。也就是说,他们可能会在作品之间进行写作,以详细描述在这些雄心勃勃的节目和中广的帐目中不可避免地会丢失什么,追寻他们自己的表演过程中的错综复杂、复杂和不可避免的挑战。RoseLee Goldberg的表演现在:二十一世纪的艺术活(2018)由泰晤士河和Hudson出版;Catherine Wood在当代艺术中的表演(2018)由泰特出版社出版。主要形象:Didier Faustino,手建筑,2009,表演文献,LAXArt,Los。天使。礼貌:艺术家伊索贝尔.哈比森.伊索贝尔.哈比森是伦敦的一位艺术评论家。她的书《表演形象》将于今年晚些时候由麻省理工学院出版。意见/表演艺术书籍凯瑟琳·伍德罗斯·李·戈德伯格表演纽约泰特现代伦敦


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