“It’s important to bring dirt into museum and gallery spaces” – “把泥土带进博物馆和画廊是很重要的”

Rafa Esparza grew up painting and drawing but was more familiar with the murals and crafts within his family and community than with contemporary galleries or museums. As he got older, he nurtured a relationship to performance by joining his East L.A. neighbors’ sweat lodges and ceremonies, questioning their creation myths and rigid gender roles while enacting their ancient traditions. The modern institution would become more alienating, so he went back outside.

“The work I was making was so much about who I had really strong ties with… So I decided to exit those spaces and do more site-specific work. Maybe they could access something I was doing in Elysian Park or on a sidewalk in Boyle Heights,” he explained of his deeply resonant, poetic public actions. Past performances include molding adobe bricks with family members to line a gallery floor, and leading an informal procession through Santee Alley, a festive stretch of industrial Downtown Los Angeles lined with stalls selling deeply discounted, counterfeit, or wholesale merchandise. “My work has to change when it goes into a museum or gallery, or any space like that… I feel like my work has to address that—it’s a reminder that all of this built environment sits on land.” He paused. “It’s important to bring dirt into those spaces.”

Ron Athey arrived at performance by a less organic route. Raised to become a Pentecostal minister, he found himself interning at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla as a teenager, where we worked the guillotine on Friday nights and ingested Class A drugs on the beach after his shifts. He had become known for his often painful, self-inflicting performances that included bloodletting, self-penetration, and scarring, weaving in glossolalia and references to French poet and playwright Jean Genet’s letters to Jean Cocteau and Georges Bataille’s The Solar Anus, and the AIDS (and, later, the “Post-AIDS”) body.

While Esparza and Athey may run some surface parallels in their work, in conversation, their intentions quickly ran off in separate directions. The two Angeleno artists do, however, share a sense of hot-blooded visceral theatricality and spiritual embodiment. They’ve also internalized their artwork: neither of them has maintained a traditional studio practice, so instead they carry it within themselves, in action and ritual.

Athey noted the parity of platforms—he’s as happy to perform at a small DIY space as he is within the white walls and blonde-wood floors of New York’s MoMA—Esparza views the community as the institution embodied, and so museums are secondary. “I never saw them as validating spaces,” he reflected. “I think we validate each other’s work all the time.”

Athey's and Esparza's conversation took place on Febraury 15 as part of the fair's Frieze Talks program. Head to the program page to learn about other talks and events at the fair.

Jennifer Piejko

Jennifer Piejko is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles.

Frieze Week /

Frieze Los Angeles 2019

拉法埃斯帕扎在绘画和绘画方面长大,但他对家庭和社区中的壁画和工艺品比对当代画廊或博物馆更熟悉。随着年龄的增长,他加入了他的东洛杉矶邻居的汗流浃背和仪式,在继承他们古老的传统的同时质疑他们的创造神话和僵化的性别角色,从而培养了与表演的关系。现代制度会变得更加疏远,所以他回到外面去了。“我所做的工作是关于我和谁有很强的关系……所以我决定退出这些空间,做更多的具体工作。也许他们可以接触到我在伊利莎恩公园或博伊尔高地人行道上所做的事情,”他解释说,他对公众的行为充满了共鸣,充满诗意。过去的表演包括与家人一起制作砖坯,铺成走廊地板,带领一支非正式的队伍穿过圣提巷,圣提巷是洛杉矶市中心工业区的一片喜庆地带,旁边是出售打折、仿冒或批发商品的摊位。“当我的作品进入博物馆或画廊,或任何类似的空间时,我的作品必须改变……我觉得我的作品必须强调,这是一个提醒,所有的建筑环境都坐落在陆地上。”他停顿了一下。“把灰尘带到这些地方是很重要的。”罗恩·阿西以一种不那么有机的方式来到了表演现场。在成长为五旬节牧师的过程中,他发现自己十几岁时就在拉荷亚的索尔克生物研究所实习,周五晚上我们在那里工作,轮班后在海滩上吸食甲类药物。他以经常令人痛苦的、自我毁灭的表演而闻名,这些表演包括放血、自我渗透和结疤,编织在格洛索拉利亚,提到法国诗人和剧作家让·吉内特写给让·科克托和乔治·巴塔耶的《太阳肛门》以及艾滋病(后来又称“后艾滋病”)尸体的信。虽然埃斯帕扎和阿西在工作中可能有一些表面上的相似之处,但在谈话中,他们的意图很快就从不同的方向消失了。然而,这两位安杰里诺艺术家却有着一种热血沸腾的内在戏剧性和精神体现的感觉。他们也把自己的作品内化了:他们两人都没有保持传统的工作室惯例,所以他们把它放在自己的内心,在行动和仪式中。Athey指出,在一个小的DIY空间里,他和纽约Moma Esparza的白墙和金色木地板一样乐于表演平台,他认为社区是机构的体现,因此博物馆是次要的。“我从来没有把它们看作是验证空间,”他反省道。“我想我们一直都在验证对方的工作。”雅典和埃斯帕扎的谈话是在2月15日举行的,这是博览会“中楣谈话”计划的一部分。前往节目页面了解展会上的其他会谈和活动。Jennifer Piejko Jennifer Piejko是居住在洛杉矶的作家和编辑。Frieze Week/Frieze Los Angeles 2019年


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