Monday, October 29, 2007

The Elements#2 - Goryeong International Performance Art Festival 2007

I was invited to the Goryeong International performance Art Festival in central Korea for the second time on October 20, 2007.There were several performance artists from countries including Japan, Australia, and Korea.

My performance title was "The Elements#2" - in which I made art using only the four elements of fire, earth, water and air.
This was a site specific performance and my performance area was a lovely stone sculpture set in the garden of the Goryeong Artists' Village.

At first I set up 4 glass cups, and added to each cup one of the elements - some rainwater, a burning candle, some air, and some earth from the surrounding garden.

I then proceeded to make an origami box from a large piece of paper.

When my paper-folding was complete I inflated the paper box with my breath (air).

I then mixed the earth and water together to make a painting medium.

With a calligraphy brush I painted ancient alchemical designs representing each of the 4 elements on the sides of the box.

These traditional symbols are based on the form of the triangle - a point-up triangle for fire, point-down for water etc.

To end the performance, I took fire from the candle flame and burned the box to ashes, and doused the smouldering remains with water - thus completing my use of the elemental quartet.

You can watch a 5 minute video below:

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Goyang International Sculpture Symposium, Korea - 'The Beauty Myth', opening performance

On October 2, I was invited as a foreign artist to make an opening performance for the 3rd Annual Goyang International Sculpture symposium. Goyang is located in the north-western part of Korea, close to the border with North Korea. The city is newly affluent and has set out to provide a special focus on culture and arts for its citizens, including an enormous and beautiful lakeside sculpture park. This sculpture symposium invited many renowned Korean and international sculptors, who spent 2 weeks creating large permanent sculpture works for the lakeside park.

I chose to perform 'The Beauty Myth' again here because of the 'body as sculpture' aspects of this performance art piece. This performance was similar to previous performances of 'The Beauty Myth' , except for a new ending. I had been researching images of the goddess in different cultures and I had been intrigued by Kali, the dark-skinned Indian goddess of power, life and death.

The ferocious energy of Kali seemed to be the perfect counter-balance to the passive stillness of the white-robed statue woman in the first part of the performance. So when the woman tires of performing as the "beautiful object" and goes within,
she gathers all her repressed energy and emerges as a wild, black-clad, empowered woman. She wields a knife in one hand and the blonde hairpiece like a severed head in the other. This symbolizes killing off the old self, and cutting the ties that bind her to the old ways.

To end the performance she silences the ringing alarm clock with a single thrust of the knife, to show that she has conquered time.