After the Act

Die (Re) Präsentation der Performancekunst After the Act
Barbara Clausen
Die (Re) Präsentation der Performancekunst Symposium
November 4 - 6, 2005
Related projects

Performance artists who refrained from documenting their performative work are mostly forgotten today. The majority was aware of the necessity of conserving their actions beyond the moment of appearance. First as press images, then as historical documents, and finally as autonomous pieces of art, these photographs and films have become part of an artistic public archive. In the end, only few select visual moments capture the myth of the original and find their way into the canon of images. 

Performances do not end with the authentic experience, but rather constitute themselves as an art form through their medialization. Aftet the Act investigates the relationship of performance art to its documentation and the history of its reception from a single moment to a cultural commodity. While different historical developments in performance art, its medialities, and its inscription into art history are discussed in the symposium, the exhibition in the Factory presents different forms of reception and appropriation of performance documentation in the contemporary art. Works by Carika Derting , Daniel Guzmán, Luis Felipe Ortega , and Seth Price investigate the history of the reception of performance art and its documentary stratigies from the 1960s and 1970s.
Their videos, photographs, graphics, and drawings are shown side by side with documentary material they have drawn on as source material, from performances by Joan Jonas, Bruce Nauman, Paul McCarthy, Terry Fox, and Viennese Actionism. The joint starting point of their explorations is the enactment and staging inherent to the documentation of performance art. Through their appropriations, reconstructions, and interpretations, the artists explore the relationship of performance art to its own history and contexts.

In Remake (1994/2003) thematisieren Daniel Guzmán and Luis Felipe Ortega ihre ersten Begegnungen mit berühmten Performances durch Reproduktionen in Katalogen und Fachpublikationen während ihrer Studienzeit in Mexico City. Diese Abbilder dienten ihnes als Vorlage und Ausgangsmaterial für eine Reinszenierung dieser epochalen Videoperformances. Jede der nachgestellten Performances von Bruce Nauman, Terry Fox und Paul McCarthy versucht einen Moment der Kunstgeschichte nachzuahmen, wissentlich, dass dieser Versuchzum Scheitern veruteilt ist Die Originale wurden in ihrer Reproduzierbarkeit Folie und Projektionsfläche, die Gurzmán und Ortega den Raum bot, die Differenz zwischen Authentizität und Appropriation physisch und temporal zu erproben.

Like most people, Daniel Guzmán and Luis Felipe Ortega owe their first contact to performances by Bruce Nauman, Terry Fox and Paul McCarthy to reproductions of video stills and photographs. Daniel Guzmán and Ortega made these early arts school encounters with famous performances the subject of their work. These images served as the source material and outset for their video Remake (1994/2003). Each re-enacted performance attempts to replicate a moment in art history, while acknowledging the failure of repetition formally emblematic to these iconic works. The reproduction or the originals becomes a foil for projection that enabled them to explore the differences between authenticity and appropriation on a physical and temporal level.