Performance Art

By: Melanie Rosato

When someone says Performace Art, many different things could come to mind. As an extremely open form of art, performance could land anywhere on a wide spectrum of expression. It is generally interdisciplinary; meaning it incorporates multiple concentrations within the arts.

These two prominent performance artists do very different things, but also are both labeled as being performance artists. In this post I am going to introduce you to Yves Klein and Marina Abramovic. Each of these artists have experimented and represented themselves in the Performance Art field at some point in their careers. Klein’s work typically does not involve himself in contrast, Abramovic’s work usually involves her and a partner or the audience.

Yves Klein

Yves Klein was a French artist, who patented his signature color International Klein Blue (IKB), which his works were solely painted in throughout most of his career. While his pieces did not include him as directly as  the other artists in this post, it was just as energetic and expressive. He used models as brushes during his performances when he would publically create his paitnings through performance. This often meant elaborate steps or pedestuls to postition the models where they needed to be in the composition. It often also meant physically dragging them on the support while covered in paint. This particular performance, Anthroprmetry, was accompaied by an orchestra who played The Monotone Symphony, a piece which Klein wrote himself containing only one note. The performance went on for 20 minutes and can be described as a spiritual awakening for many. After the performance the room was instructed to comply to 20 additional minutes of complete silence, which noone objected to as they all meditated in unison.

Marina Abramovic

Rest Energy, 1980

Known for her manipulation and dramatic use of her body, this Serbian artist made an impact on Performance Art in the 1970’s. After meeting her partner Ulay they mostly performed together for the remainder of their relationship. During these years they tested the boundaries of not only eachother, but the audience as well. In peices like Imponderabilia (1977), Abramovic and Ulay stand nude facing eachother in a narrow doorway that is the only entrance to the exhibition; the audience is faced with a decision to either squeeze through the two nude figures or turn around and leave. Her work often deals with human emotion and falibility; with an emphasis on interaction and exchanges in energy and power dynamics. In the piece pictured to the left, Rest Energy, the pair held this position for an extended period of time while microphones amplified their racing hearbeats to the audience. Conceptually this piece is often interpreted as being a depiction of the elevated vulnerability and trust humans experience when in love.

Sources: 1 2 3

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