Throughout the history of performance art, the ephemeral nature of a performance has stood in contrast to the idea of the art work as a saleable commodity in a marketplace. But many acts of performance, whether on an intimate or a grand scale, leave a tangible object behind, especially in an age when experiences can easily be recorded, filmed and shared with an audience. This tension between the performative act and the lasting artifact is the starting point for the Fine Art Society’s latest contemporary group exhibition. As curator Lee Cavaliere says: “These ‘remnants’ of performance give permanence to the acts themselves, shifting their value, leaving a record or questioning intent.”
The exhibition, across two floors of the Bond Street gallery, features work across a range of media including painting, sculpture, photography and video from Andy Goldsworthy, John Giorno, Shen Wei, Ori Gersht, Michael Petry, Justin Davies Anderson, Geraldine Swayne and Rashaad Newsome.
Notably, Goldsworthy who is best known for creating ephemeral “land art” from the materials of nature, presents new works in photography and, for the first time, video, capturing the “shadow” of the human body, a theme he has revisited throughout his career.
Further photographic work is presented by Israeli-born Ori Gersht, who is concerned with storytelling, history, trauma and the physical properties of photography. Gersht investigates the relationship between photography, technology and perception at a pivotal moment in the history of the medium through the risk and potential of digital technology. Still images capture a shattering mirror, which is reflecting a still life floral arrangement in reference to the paintings of Jan Brueghel the Elder. The work explodes the genre of still life capturing the beauty and destruction of this moment.
Shen Wei’s art encompasses dance and painting, where each is considered an integral and equal part of the same practice. Here he presents large-scale paintings created in direct relation to his dance work, made using sweeping gestures involving the whole body. They are shown alongside a recording of the piece with which they were made, Untitled 12, For Bodies.
A dramatic intrusion into the gallery space is be created by Michael Petry who re-enacts a version of Libations to Eros, first performed at the Palm Springs Museum in March 2015. Reflecting his interest in contemporary aspects of the classical world, the performance involves Petry firing 54 arrows into a wall while narrating the epic story of the Greek god of love.
Performance & Remnant, until 30 October,The Fine Art Society Contemporary 148 New Bond Street, London W1S 2JT
Find out more at www.faslondon.com.
Follow us on Twitter @AestheticaMag for the latest news in contemporary art and culture.
1. Justin Davis Anderson, Mountain House, 2015. Courtesy of FAS.