Viewing single post of blog Bodies/Objects – PDX/NYC (Travel Bursary)

Looking to meet and talk to other artists who work with dance and performance in galleries TBA festival was a great place. The C.E.L. artists (Creative Exchange Labs) featured two Artists practice I have been interested in for a while, Brennan Gerrard and Ryan Kelly.  I was lucky to be able to organise a meeting with Brennan discussing some ideas relating to their work and specifically Timelining.

A current interest within my practice is looking at the administrative process in galleries of the Condition Report as a means to explore inter-relations between performance and visual art. Currently in early research stages about how best to approach working with a C.R. in relation to performance and performance artists. As part of this meeting I asked questions  and discussed ideas around their project Timelining.  This work is interesting as a performance owned by the Guggenheim in New York I wanted to understand the parameters  important for the works to retain integrity once the performance has left the hands of the Artists.As part of the sale like many artworks Brennan discussed a few aspects that make up the develop the contracts that entitle the work to be sold.

Transmit/ters/ting. Discussing how the work continues to be made once the performance is owned and outside of the Artists hands. The need for bodies/performers to inhabit the work means for either the same cast must be used or a means for teaching/training new performers into the work. Transmitters is a word that refers to this process of passing the life of the work from one body to the next. For the work discussed this was stipulated as a performer who has performed in the work two times or more.

Life. We discussed a grey area in their contract around the owner holding responsibility for keeping the work alive. I have heard of this sort of clause being contained in sales of art before but it seems important for owning Performances. Unlike leasing the license of a Balanchine Dance for a period of time, owning a work means there is a different relationship to the transaction with an emphasis on preserving the work rather than presenting the work or in relation to dance companies ‘using’ the work for their own means – not to say someone buying performance art may have alterior motives however the focus does not lie in borrowing the dress (performance) to see if it looks good with the shoes (dancers). I asked about whether there were specifics, i.e performed twice every 5 years etc. but there was none, it seemed to up to the owner and it makes sense, what is the point of buying something that needs life just to keep store it in an airtight room. The question around why performances are being bought is something that I am interested in, is ownership integral to preservation?

Instruction. Discussing influences over how the constraints to who how the work is sold, the work of Sol Lewitt and Felix Gonzales-Torres came into discussion. Looking at works such as Lewitts Drawing Instructions or Gonzales’ Perfect Lovers and his candy piles series there is an inherent performativity in the work and an embrace of the works permanence; the works exist under certain circumstances and may not exist continually. What is needed for these works to exist is a body to fulfill certain criteria or in other words, perform a set of tasks. I find this relationship interesting as it places more agency on objects, or maybe looks at leveling the hierarchies of materials out; bodies, pencil, walls, architecture etc. This sort of approach of increasing empathy with objects is explored in Jane Bennetts Vibrant Matter, at the moment i think this is a useful way of approaching the gap between performance and visual art objects in relation to the condition report.

I am interested in these aspects not as a means to begins to explore selling my own performances, but as a means looking at how each artform functions in relation to each other. As an artist working in both Visual Arts and Dance contexts I am becoming more aware of how performance is treated in relation to a fine art object, and the condition report opens up ways of presenting these differences.