The Venice Biennale is the world’s oldest art show which exhibits some of the most prominent artists from around the world. Performance Art has been increasingly part of the Biennale just as it was out there in the Art World. Two years ago in 2017 Anne Imhof’s performance piece ‘Faust’, won the prestigious golden lion award at the German pavilion. This year the Lithuanian pavilion won the award with the performance piece by collective Neon Realism – a contemporary opera performance titled Sun & Sea.
This year, for the first time, there is an official programme of fifteen performance works in addition to performances in the national pavilions and off-site project spaces. This initiative has been co-devised by the Biennale curator Ralf Ruggoff and Aaron Cezar, director of London’s Defina Foundation as part of the Biennale’s public programme (‘Meetings on Art’). This programme is scheduled to take place between May 8 – 12 and November 22 – 24. The performers for the ‘Meetings on Art’ programme represent a diverse range of nationalities and include, Polish artist Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, London-based Florence Peake and Cooking Sections, Nastio Mosquito, a composer from Angola and Canadian drag queen Victoria Sin. I have been working between London and New York for the past five years so I am particularly involved with the performance art scenes in those cities. New York, in particular still has a vibrant, established and underground performance art community which has been thriving since Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Yayoi Kusama, and a young Marina Abramovic really created and pushed the form back in the New York happenings in the 1960s. Some of that energy certainly still exists in New York.
Today I am preparing for the arrival of a friend and colleague who is a prominent performance artist and curator from New York, Hector Canonge, who is arriving in Venice to perform a piece created especially for my off-site project titled SOMAGRAPHIKA. The project consists of a performance made for video, which is being screened at Alive in the Universe and a live presentation at the finissage of IMPRECISION: The Aesthetics of Failure on Thursday, May 30 at 7 pm, where the artist captures a series of bodily impressions delivered over a period of time.
I know Hector because he created and runs the annual Performance Art Festival of NYC, ITINERANT – 5 days of performances in 6 locations including The Queens Museum, Smack Mellon, Grace Exhibition Space, and the Last Frontier NYC. Last year I performed with the artist, actor and vocalist Siw Laurent at the Last Frontier, which is run by the visual artist Sol Kjøk – a true legend in the New York art scene who runs the residency space The Mothership as well as The Last Frontier.
This year’s full schedule of ITINERANT festival: http://www.creatrixmag.com/itinerant2019/
Immediately after the ITINERANT festival in 2018 I took a bus with Hector to Rosekill – Jill and Erik’s outdoor performance art venue in Upstate New York, for the Panathenaic Festival that will be forever in the minds of everybody who was there. The performances were wild and wonderful and many artists stayed up creating and talking all night by the fire. We camped or crashed out in hammocks, skinny dipped in the lake and sweated in the sweat lodge. Rosekill is an idyllic creative haven for performance artists.
Canonge is currently developing new work to be presented in the X Encuentro of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics in Mexico City (June 9 – 15), and for his solo exhibition “Impulsos” at Museo Casa Melchor Pinto in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia (August 3 – September 10, 2019).
IMPRECISION: The Aesthetics of Failure is open daily this week until May 31 from 1:00 – 7:00pm with the finissage on Thursday May 30, 7:00 – 9:00
ARTI3160, Salizzada Malipiero, San Marco, 3209/A – 3160, Venice, Italy