Imagine a cow left for a day on Ipanema, an urban beach in Rio de Janeiro, where no animal has been seen for at least a century. Imagine taking a close look at bacteria writing a poem, or a group of friends gathered in a bar, each member enjoying a glass of some fermented beverage. What these events have in common can be encapsulated in one word that unleashes a lot of emotion and critical commentary yet evades simplistic classification: performance.
Performance Works is based on the premise that living art can only be defined through praxis, so the writers have reinforced their texts with action: accompanying artists during rehearsals and onstage, passing time together, and collectively reflecting on the essence of performance.
The publication is an anthology of both newly commissioned and reprinted essays, as well as interviews and fiction that reflect on performance today. It is structured around four major sections that investigate the new performance phenomenologies by looking at artistic institutions, curatorial practices, and exhibition formats, as well as the technological turn and performative fiction.
Over recent decades, the definition of performance has changed. Performance Works examines changes taking place in the traditional exhibition format, which has recently taken a back seat to hybrid forms that link the visual arts with the performing arts, literature, and music. The book reflects on the changing role of the viewer, who increasingly has become a performer and active participant.
Authors also analyze the role of the performer’s body and the work that is involved in extended performative exhibitions.
Additionally, Performance Works presents the research outcomes linked to the performance program launched in 2016 at Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, which examined the performative turn in visual arts and its consequences for art institutions, as well as artistic and curatorial practices.