A book is a performance

KIVLAND, Sharon (2013). A book is a performance. [Show/Exhibition]
Creators:KIVLAND, Sharon

Co-curated with Lisa Otty, this exhibition showcases artists’ books and multiples to explore and expand the twin concepts of performance and performativity. Considering how books stage images, enact ideas and direct experiences to subversive effect, this exhibition presents thoughts and actions grounded in ritual, gesture, mime, documentation and scores through works exhibited.

Artists and writers have engaged with the performative possibilities of the book for over a century, the French 19th century poet Mallarmé imagined his Le Livre emerging as a series of ritualised séances, whilst the modernist artist Marcel Duchamp’s Green Box staged the book in order to subvert its traditions. Drawing upon a broad range of contemporary works, a book is a performance follows Mallarmé’s desires and Duchamp’s lead and situates the book and the act of reading as a performative practice inscribed with gesture and action.

At the heart of the fascination with the book is its potential as a transformative space, in which identities and places can be unsettled. In Polaroid Portraits Richard Hamilton enters this mutable space and shows the ambivalence of portraiture. In the work of Viola Yeşiltaç photographs are used to directly mark, reorder and turn space into a fiction of her own. Yeşiltaç’s editorial control over space is echoed in the work of Sharon Kivland who organises postcards and historical images into unlikely and random categories, forming equivalences between disparate fictions, realties and histories. But it is not only space and identity that are subject to radical re-invention in the book, in Simon Morris’ Rewriting Freud words and thoughts are recombined to generate different perspectives on the hidden depths of Freud’s practice of psychoanalysis. Alec Finley adopts a similar approach in his work Mesostic Interleaved, which consists of a series of poems distributed randomly throughout a library collection: these ‘bookmarks’ reconfigure the readers engagement with the collection, sending them in unexpected directions. Yet the book is inherently a material object and it is this persistent physical quality that provides the ‘binding’ of Helen Douglas’ Threads, in this work the book becomes a stage upon which a thread of thought literally wanders into, across and through its pages. The wandering and wondering capacity of thought and words is further traced out in the unfolding of the book into a live and public space in Cullinan Richards Savage School Window Gallery, whilst in the work of Nina Chua the book becomes a map of words that opens into the unknown.

The works in a book is a performance cumulatively reveal the book as the anchor point for riveting and radical forms of experience, in which a turned page can lead into an encounter with performative acts, gestures and beautiful subversions.

Official URL:http://http://www.dundee.ac.uk/djcad/exhibitions/e...
Item Type:Show/Exhibition
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018:Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Art and Design Research Centre
Date:April 2013
Event Location:Centre for Artists' Books, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland
ID Code:6854
Deposited By: Sharon Kivland
Deposited On:19 Apr 2013 14:37
Last Modified:18 Mar 2021 08:30
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