By Culturekiosque Staff
PARIS, 10 NOVEMBER 2005 Performance art gained traction in the
1970s. It is currently enjoying somewhat of a Renaissance in Europe and
the United States. For those who missed performance art in the 1970s,
three notable artists from the 1970s whose works inform performance art
Vito Acconci (b. 1940, New York) acquired his
reputation in the 1960s for his performances and the photography and video
art derived from them. Generally a direct confrontation with the viewer,
in a very intrusive manner, is central to these performances. Acconcis
controversial 1972 project Seedbed at the Sonnabend Gallery in
New York where he hid under a false floor for three days every week, for a
period of 8 hours, masturbating and speaking through a microphone
connected to a speaker positioned inside the gallery space. Visitors could
hear the sound of him masturbating as he whispered sexual fantasies about
each passerby though the speakers.
Acconci has stated, the work was an attempt to establish an "intimate"
connection with those who visited the gallery, through fantasizing sexual
relation Acconci would speak to visitors as if they were lovers. He
enjoyed his greatest notoriety for the performances in which he explored
the boundaries of his own body and its capacity to endure pain: biting
himself, falling on the ground, or pulling out a square decimetre of his
own body hair.
The following year Gina Pane performed The
Conditioning, first action of Self-Portrait(s) (1973). Pane lay on a
metal bed above lit candles for approximately thirty minutes. Her
sufferiing was apparent to the audience, who witnessed her wringing her
hands in pain.
Similarly, in Marina Abramovic's Lips of
Thomas (1975, Galerie Krinzinger, Innsbruck, Austria), the
Yugoslav-born Abramovic ate a kilogram of honey and drank a liter of red
wine out of a glass. She broke the glass with her hand, incised a star in
her stomach with a razor blade, and then whipped herself until she "no
longer felt pain." She lay down on an ice cross while a space heater
suspended above caused her to bleed more profusely. The work earned
Abramovic a 10-minute ovation from the audience.