CORPUS.ART IN ACTION
THE EXTREME BODY
curated by Adriana Rispoli | Eugenio Viola
Madre Museum Naples
06.06.09 | 26.06.09
Corpus. Art in Action, investigates some artistic experiences that view the body – the Husserlian “Lieb” - in the dual role of leading player and supporting actor, subject and object, actor and work of art – a characteristic which from the avant-gardes through to today has created a strong bond (albeit underground and little known) between a certain notion of artistic praxis and the most radical theatrical experiments.
Within the varied panorama of the performing arts, the focus was put on two distinct but complementary paths of research: the first characterized by an important nexus with those body-related themes that began to emerge on the artistic scene in the early 1990s, and another distinguished by a series of boundary-breakings and artistic tangents that hybridized the visual-arts terrain with that of music and theatre.
In the former, the body is studied in its most extreme form. It becomes a location of sickness and death to trace the boundaries of a certain “other-ness.” Self-mutilations, cuts, incisions, displays of bodily fluids – these actions characterized the work by artists of the so-called “neo-primitivism” phenomenon, of which Ron Athey is certainly one of the most renown and emblematic representatives. Without any type of inter-mediation, the artist brings uncomfortable and – not infrequently – unpleasant topics to the stage. This m.o. is a part of Neapolitan artist Angela Barretta's work. Of equal impact, but spurred by different existential motivations, is the work of Kira O'Reilly, who joins a fascination for biotechnologies and the profitable and disquieting inter-relationships between art and science with the classic actions of Body Art. The poetics of Gabrijel Savic Ra (heir apparent to the glorious Balkan tradition) required the recuperation of some themes dear to the “historical” Body-Art movement, but updates them in a contemporary fashion. This patently theatrical “going outside of the lines” becomes the expedient by which Milica Tomic casts a merciless look back at the laceration and violence borne during the war in the former Yugoslavia. A symbolic re-actualization is also present in the work of Andrea Cusumano – here with Marino Formenti – who pushes the envelope in terms of the extreme consequences of the “total theatre” idea, embedded within the Orgyen Mysterien Theater created by his teacher, Hermann Nitsch. The other through-line analyzes performance in its most transversal definition. The performance action is characterized by a fusion of bodily gesture accompanied by a sound element that takes on a dominant importance. This is the case of Jamie Shovlin and his Lustfaust, who bring an in-your-face “noise”-type sound onto the scene, made through the combustion of industrial music and by electronic experimentations, and by the Swede Tobias Bernstrup, in whose work the performance act is steeped in the timeless curiosity of androgyny, short-circuiting a noir aesthetic with a new-wave vibe, pop elements, and a formal vocabulary most closely related to the world of video games.