While organising ourselves into performance groups I was interested in finding someone with a shared enthusiasm of representations of certain artists within museums. In the average museum, it is no secret that white middle-class males’ works occupy the majority of the space. This idea of biasness was something that both my partner Tom, and I shared.
Upon our first meeting we had four main topics that we were interested in:
- The (in)accessibility of art for the working-class;
- Whether the pieces chosen to be displayed in museums are bias, why should x be displayed and y not?;
- Raising questions as to the value of pieces of art, an average spectator may ask why Yves Klein’s IKB 79, a canvas that seems to be simply painted blue, can stand in an art museum, whereas a detailed portrait by an amateur artist cannot (Klein, 1959)? What makes one more valuable than the other?;
- The aforementioned trouble of overrepresentation of white middle-class males.
In our discussion we discussed the performance aspects we were interested in such as immediacy of art, audience participation, and the authenticity of the performance/ moment/ meaning. Something that also struck us was the purity of Abramovic’s performances. The simplicity and clarity which she shows serves to promote her original idea, creating no obscurity for the spectator of what it is she is wanting to explore and achieve. Through many more discussions we had a performance plan. We thought of separating white males from the rest of the audience and having them create a piece of art on one canvas, while anyone who was not white or male created a separate work. We were then to display these pieces in the Viewpoint with the piece by the white males being displayed with a sign advertising it’s sale for a high price while the other work had a sign offering a low price.
We felt that our idea incorporated all of our interests and worked well, but we lost sight of the simplicity we wanted to achieve. To us, our plan seemed clear and calculated, but we discovered obstacles in the planning of our piece: with obstacles came solutions, and with our solutions came obscurity of meaning. Now, focusing on representations in art, much the same way Rimini Protokoll’s 100% City does, we aim to show a representation of Lincoln through selecting a range of people and documenting something about them (Rimini Protokoll, 2008-2014). This is an idea that we feel can achieve Abramovic’s simplicity while not losing sight of our original aims and intentions.
Klein, Y. (1959) IKB 79. [paint on canvas on plywood] Lincoln: The Collection (loan).
Rimini Protokoll. (2008-2014) 100% City. [performance art] Various places and dates.
Picture from: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/klein-ikb-79-t01513