Last night was the opening reception of the “Flow” show at Arc. Here I am grinning like an idiot next to my piece:
Before attending this show, I stopped by another show opening in a tiny little gallery called 60six in upper Mission. The opening included a performance piece by artist Anastasia Faiella, and was my first performance art experience. I usually cringe and cower at the idea of “performance” in any form, but this woman’s work was all about mark-making which is right up my alley so I figured time to bite the bullet – try to keep an open mind and a straight face. Stupidly I had imagined that the performance would go on for quite a while and that I could just wander in like one does at a regular reception. So I got there at 7:40 – 10 minutes after the posted start time – to find a locked door and the sound of a satisfied audience clapping appreciatively behind it. Damn my infernal powers of disorganization!
Anyway, luckily the artist had the foresight to video the event and then project it back in a continuous loop on top of the drawing once the performance was over, for those as useless as me at getting anywhere on time. Here’s an example of one of her performance pieces – though not the one from last night.
And my response to this very public expression of one’s inner self (which sounds horrifying and hellish)? I liked it! A lot. I was afraid that the artist was going to be a bit, you know, attention-needy because (I thought) why else would anyone want to subject themselves to something as awful as dozens of people watching and silently judging you – your art, your body, your talent, your soul exposed. Maybe it was because her movements were very elegant and strong, and really much more like dancing than drawing. Or maybe it was because I have performed the same exercise alone in my studio so could connect with and understand what she was doing. But either way, somewhat like when a nude model first de-robes and you have to train your brain to get over the raw nakedness and all the social awkwardness that you would usually feel, eventually the instinct to look away subsided and I could actually see form, beauty, movement and rhythm. I was offered an opportunity not only to connect with the intention and sentiment that this artist was expressing, but also with myself. Without judgement, I saw that I had brought my own issues – about performance, being on show, exposing myself – to this piece and these became part of the experience for me. I saw myself standing in the way of an opportunity to connect.
When I was able to step aside guess what happened? WHAM! An awesome idea popped right into my head, almost fully formed. An idea that fits right in with the current work I’m doing, but extends it in ways I had never thought of before. And, of course, it’s going to require me to do some performance art myself, and face my demons.
That’s all I’m going to say about it right now. But I’ve made a commitment to it, so here goes. I’m busting out the yoga pants and legwarmers.