Let's go back to the subject......
Official history still considers Performance as a phenomenon linked to the 60's. How many times, have I heard from institutions : "ooh, a Performance Festival, but this is so old-fashioned, this is a subject coming right out of the 70's, this is all over now and has been". Everything has been said! These words used with such self confidence and spiced with a no-less explicit look, that threw me back directly into the category of a dummy, always surprised me coming from a civil servant from which one could have hope that his general knowledge is as important as his pretentiousness.
Though Performance exists more and more, the coming back among young artists of body practices is obvious. A new generation of emerging artists uses this artistic medium, as well as other ones they have at hand. There are the actions until exhaustion of Julie André (Quebec) or Melati Suryodarmo (Indonesia) a student of Marina Abramovic -, or of Jamie McMurry in the USA, the very political interventions of Tanja Ostojic (Serbia), the choices of an interactivity with the public of My Liuming (China) and Cyril Lepetit (France), the setting in front of our system of overconsumption by Artur Grabowski (Poland), Taje Tross in Estonia and radical actions of the Non Grata group, the shooting of Nicholas Boone in France, social implications of the Irish Maurice O' Connell, sculptural actions in Belgium by Merlin Spie, the continuation is assured.
M. Suryodarmo M.Liuming C.Lepetit
Without forgetting the influence of the some mentors on their students: Joel Hubaut or Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux in France, Marina Abramovic in Germany, Alastair McLennan in Ireland, Andre Stitt and Roddy Hunter in England, Bartoloméo Ferrando in Spain, Christopher Hewitt in Finland, Coco Fusco, Nao Bustamente, Arnold Skip, for the USA, Artur Tajber in Poland, Adina Bar On in Israel, Seppo Salminen in Finland, and I must stop my list, we are not in sorrow of talented discoveries.
Be aware of the skids .......
It is today in France of a good taste to present a Performance during a private opening of an exhibition -which I would rather call most of the time experimental theater- since it becomes a fashion wave, as long as this one doesn't dirt and don't put into question the undeniable reknown of the gallery or the museum which organize it.
Therefore, I've had many opportunities to assist to resurgence of ideas already largely explored in the field of Performance by actors, artists, or musicians, who the most seriously comes to get applauded -bis repetitae-, just like on the stage of a big show. Thus answering to a prior expectation of our society : to be foreseeable and esthetic, then reassuring.
Conviviality, surprise and current interactivity of the Performance with the audience vanished, we are from now on in the era of show business : the one the highly thinking institution wants!
As in the United States during the Nineties, any spectacular artistic form takes from now on in France the denomination " Performance ", whatever it is. These shows (of dance, theatre, or other experimental forms) do not have anything to do with Performance Art. We are right into this spectacular era announced by Debord a few decades ago.
It is always good to remember that the original form of Performance comes from visual arts. Of course, other forms of expression arose to add to the latter, one saw this, but the basis is undeniable.
Lyon has always been considered as a very secret and conservative city. I shall say that mental strength and a large, global point of view are necessary to resist to the various moods of each new elective members of the city council as well as for waiting patiently the good will of local institutions.
For memory, at the beginning of May 1995, I attended the Public Library with a censure of the reading-performance of Joel Hubaut by Patrick Beurard-Valdoye, during the homage made to Gerhasim Luca entitled " Tchin Tchin Gherasim " or Joel whistled almost a bottle of champagne while discussing with this missing poet. The meal that followed was rather animated, one will suspect it.
In the same series, in 1995, definitely harmful year, in Elac, Thierry Raspail also censures the work made by Gilles Richard who was carried out with several Doc(k)s dealing with eroticism. It was at the time of the show
" Poésie Sonnée " and a curious first contact with the 2 Corsican artists who formed Akenaton.
The poster of the last Polysonneries Festival could not have been born without the radical intervention of the director of the agency Dixit, partner of the event and creator of the visual. Klaus Hersche, the director of the Subsistances, had purely and simply decided to prohibit it at 3 weeks of the event. Pretexting the bad taste of the poster, and preferring to make work with his graphic designer based in Switzerland! The 5 000 posters with the beautiful buttocks of Nino failed well to pass to the trash. www.polysonneries.org
But since immemorial time the jealousies fed the different artistic chapels. No one does escape from this perversity of the system. And all systems are perverse. Even the one of artists.