No 3 (95) 2013
July - September


Performance has been considered the most energising type of art of the 20th century, nevertheless, today it is interpreted in a specific way, completely different than in the early 70's. Further, at present it has been subject to commercial manipulation.

Małgorzata Kaźmierczak

B. 1979. PhD in History, curator, author of articles on performance art.

Małgorzata Kaźmierczak

A HUGE ABYSS between the commercial world's pretending performance art and performance art itself is a certain fact. In my conversation with Fabio Cavallucci I heard an opinion that "performance art festivals present third rate artists and one does not have to keep searching for new performers, as the choice has already been made." I decided to test this false statement expressed by Mr Cavallucci that questions the open nature of performance, during the festival in Piotrków Trybunalski. The festival of "third rate artists", who are never perfect.

Low-budget performance art festivals irritate commercial (and institutional) curators who are promoting performance celebrities according to their own scheme. The festival meetings always propose a whole variety of art, multiple contexts, openness and lack of compromise towards the way the world is evaluated. Here the creation of celebrities is false and banal.

Max Horde attached clothes pegs to his clothes and body, moaning loudly and ridiculing the "performer's suffering". Richard Martel, in turn, applied feathers, glitter, gadgets in various colours (different for each day of the week). Thus he referred to the usage of readymade objects by performance artists. The predictable structure was banal but a reference to Marcel Duchamp was a valuable gesture. Amélie Laurence Fortin referred clearly to the works by Jan Świdzinski, one of the founders of the Interactions festival. The latter has built houses of cards. The former has made a pyramid out of tins and boards and attempted to stand on it. After she added yet another floor, the structure collapsed.

Omar Ghayatt arranged with the audience a casting for wife, a lover and her husband. Jiři Suruvka organised a performance art Olympics. Four performer-trainers were to prepare the competitors, however the jury's verdict was identical for each runner, and there were no medal winners.

A slogan from Przemysław Kwiek's T-shirt: "Fear No Art" turned into both, an intervention in the public space, and the reminder of a simple interrelation - where there is no freedom, there is no art. This radical artists' slogan from many years ago is still up to date in Poland.

In this sense we may interpret the 20-second performance by Dariusz Fodczuk who presented the same slogan in a shopping mall escalator passage, only that he had it written on his bare bottom. The performances by Fodczuk approach the fear of art. issue in a different manner. He invites the public to join and have fun together in a Fluxus style.

Ryszard Piegza presented a re-enactment of the performance by Jean Dupuy's entitled Polish Weeper. The participants were slicing onions and collecting their tears into shot glasses. In a Circle of Co-Existence AmbaLangua Piegza invited other artists and the public to accumulate their creative energy. The space of the Circle was shared by Alastair MacLennan for his individual, three-hour, static performance. Alexander del Re recorded interviews with women who talked about social roles of men and women. James Partaik, in turn, registered sounds of the town and the festival - coming from the gallery, pub, hotel etc. and offered these in the course of his performance.

Jozsef Juhasz and Nastja Säde Rönkkö used the shopping mall escalator passage to develop an ideal symmetry by riding it in opposite directions to each other. The man holding a board and a knife, and a woman holding vegetables were supposed to never meet.

It is worth to remember excellent, although very theatrical, performances by Nicola Frangione - a sound poetry artist and Arti Grabowski, who created some very aesthetically attractive and disturbing images applying a fan and white shirts. Przemyslaw Branas in a performance entitled (non)- own inspired by Miron Bialoszewski's poem, presented the process of the familiarisation and unfamiliarisation of reality by a human sense of sight. His action involved live grain weevils larvae and human dentures falling down from a loaf of bread. Transl. Małgorzata Kaźmierczak

The "Interactions", 15th International Art Festival, the Artistic Action Center, Piotrków Trybunalski, May 5th - 12th 2013.