On Friday the 23rd of October, I had the pleasure of visiting the Performance & Remnant show. The exhibit held at the Contemporary faculty of the Fine Art Society, showcased various ways in which performance art can be documented or live through other mediums, allowing artists to harness the commercial value of work derived from live art.
One of the artist’s capturing my attention was photographer Jo Broughton: Broughton presents the audience with a set of photographs titled Empty Porn Sets, which presents depictions of empty sets for staging pornography. Ranging from christmas settings to ballon-filled studios and classrooms, Broughton captures the myriad of forms sexual desire acquires and the great extends to which we result in order to experience our caprices. What is quite interesting is not only how Broughton explores themes of voyeurism and spectatorship by photographing these porn sets, but also the way in which Broughton allows the audience to fill in these sets with their imagination - mentally re-enacting the scenarios that could have unfolded within these spaces. As a result, Broughton’s Empty Porn Sets is documenting the remnants of pornographic acts, as well as provoking the mental conception of new fictitious acts.
Another interesting artist featured in the Performance & Remnant show in Justin Davis Anderson, who works with images of independent performers and musicians in NewYork. Anderson presents an installation made up of polaroids altered with mixed media. Personally I found that Anderson’s alterations of the polaroids, serve as to reimagine the narrative of the image and the characters. I am also very interested in the assemblage of the polaroids to create an installation, as I found it being reminiscent of the fleeting nature of performance.
Perhaps the work that has resonated the most with my practise has been Rashaad Newsome’s collages. Created in conjunction with the video piece ICON, the collages explore thematics of pop and hip hop culture, commoditisation of the human figure as well as opulence, dance and fashion. Newsome’s use of performance-imagery as the basis of his collages opens up a relationship with my practise, as I also use stills from performances to create collages; I call these performative collages, which are collages that possess the ability to host performance and allow it to unfold in a different way from live performance. My work is similar with Newsmen’s, in the way we both immortalise performative moments through the realm of collage - whose principle is to enact upon various forms of conformity, breaking the mould with the flamboyant juxtaposition of imagery.
Overall the Performance & Remnant show shed light in the way which live artists allow performance to manifest through other mediums, liberating their practise whilst opening the next chapter for contemporary performance. As a young artist, I also appreciated the kindness and enthusiasm shown by the staff of the Fine Art society who were happy to spend time with myself and other visitors, talking about the show.