Prior to my first meeting with my Site-Specific Performance group, I visited The Collection and was compelled by the range of art that was displayed. The juxtaposition of traditional art and modernist works was stimulating, and while some pieces were more easily appreciated than others, all inspired. This idea of old with the new is typified by Andrew Bracey’s ‘ReconFigure Paintings’ exhibition. This exhibition targets the idea of art’s value and the reproduction of paintings, as Bracey has noted that “in some ways [he is] destroying the original object and in other ways [he is] rejuvenating it” (The Collection, 2014, online). This is a sentiment that is discussed in John Berger’s Ways of Seeing (tw1975, 2012, online video), as he discusses the reproduction of images, and explains that the context in which works are aligned influences both our view and experience of them.
While at The Collection this week we were assigned two tasks, from which we must devise a one-minute performance for the 4th of February. From the stimulus “locate an item that speaks of unspeakable history” I was instantly reminded of Jacob Epstein’s 1928 bronze sculpture ‘Paul Robeson’. During a previous visit to the Usher Gallery, I was captivated by this piece’s aesthetic and had researched the subject of the sculpture, Paul Robeson, a singer, actor, and most significantly, a civil rights activist. The history of African-Americans repression throughout history is a topic I find compelling, and researching Paul Robeson was an exercise that I found effortless due to the activist’s incredible life. For my performance I am going to act as Epstein in dialogue with Robeson, discussing his life and summarising the conversation in terms of the existing sculpture.
My visit to The Collection on February 4th is one that I am excited for, as the mix of old and new, and the sheer magnificence of the works in The Viewpoint (the new exhibition that we will be frequenting) is an experience that I know will inspire me further in my process of creating a site-specific performance.
The Collection (2014) ReconFigure Paintings 20 Dec 2014 – 19 Apr 2015. [online] Lincoln. Available from http://www.thecollectionmuseum.com/?/exhibitions-and-events/view/reconfigure-paintings [Accessed 31 January 2015]
tw1975 (2012) John Berger / Ways of Seeing , Episode 1 (1972) [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pDE4VX_9Kk [Accessed 29 January 2015]
Image from: http://www.newstatesman.com/2013/11/voice-thunders