The trouble with performance art
Ross, Monica (2007) The trouble with performance art In: This Will Not Happen Without You. The University of Sunderland Press, pp. 106-115. ISBN 978-1-899377-25-1
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‘The Trouble With Performance Art’ combines two elliptical trajectories of enquiry: (i) exploring the history of UK performance in relation to social, political and cultural history since 1970; (ii), considering whether documentation and archival practices can reproduce key aspects of the original experience of time-based works. Specifically, the essay addresses how and whether original intentions to explode given constructions of time, historical relegation and cultural economies of art and its values can continue to be effective beyond the artwork’s time and site of exposition. Central to Ross’s research is the documentation of Jeremy Deller and Mike Figgis’s Battle of Ogreave and works by Anne Bean and Mona Haltom through which she reveals new relationships between them, disrupting their conventional assignment to different historical eras and categories of art practice, e.g., the specific relationship of Bean’s work to 1970s feminist practice and theory has not been established elsewhere; nor connections between Bean’s and Hatoum’s practices. Ross situates them within a new discursive constellation, revealing a new canonical continuity in UK performance art through their differently enacted forms of conceptual engagement with culturally and politically determined constructions and perceptions of time and space. Consequently, she locates these artworks works as central and indexical to defining moments of cultural and political history from 1970 and 2006, both at the time, and since their first exposition. This Will Not Happen without You is a major publication/exhibition catalogue accompanying exhibitions at the John Hansard Gallery. Southampton (21.11.2006-20.01.2007), the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle (10.02.2007-31.03.2007), and Interface, Belfast (27.09.2007-27.10.2007). It documents three decades of groundbreaking work by Locus+ (and its predecessors), a leading UK independent arts organisation for performance and site-specific art. All the book’s contributors have longstanding working relationships with the organisation and the innovative field of practice for which it is a recognised leader.
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