JUNE 29 - JULI 3 in Utrecht
This is my graduation art work for the Bachelor of Fine Arts: Fine Art & Design in Education. For the last two years, I've been experimenting with different kinds of performances using duct tape as a common visual thread.
There is no general theme. I wanted to keep the idea as pure as possible. Or maybe as corrupt as possible. It started with characteristics rather than ideas. It's a performance art and it's bold, simple, weird, risky, physical, comedic, juvenile, contemporary, Intentionally stupid.
It's been an exciting project because by its nature, it's desperately looking for meaning and changes constantly. But every step felt like a step forward.
In June of this year, it will be featured at Exposure by the Utrecht School of Arts.
august 2020 - januari 2021
After performing in Berlin I felt pressure to learn more about the medium as a whole before my education ended. I only had a year left.
I wanted to (over) kill that year at art academy and make something bold, original, modern, big and bloated. Hence, the formal title.
At first there were a lot of elements. Like a vague and mean-spirited Instagram-page. I printed 200 stickers with just the logo before even sketching up ideas for the thing itself. I like doing what I'm not supposed to do so I decided to do the last thing first and see if I could make it work. Obviously, I couldn't.
I knew that I was unexperienced. I don't want to come across as talking down or being pretentious.
So I go back to the basics. I will play like a child but it can't look like I'm pretenting to be a actual kid. No actual toys but rather tools. The performances had to be simple, expressive and minimal. I wore masks because I didn't want the project to be about my own identity.
I was doubtful about using masks. I wanted to use my body to create the image, not my identity. It's hard to make the mask lose personality without using one of those mannequin heads. So I designed about 30 different ones. Simply using paper and black marker. I let 30 different amateur actors pick a mask and see how it affects their character. I asked them to think of a quick sketch to show what they imagine this face to be like.
august 2021 - november 2021
Inspired by Jan Erichsen and Maurizio Cattelan, I felt that it needed to be even simpler. I decided to focus solely on the act itself and eliminate everything that was just there for show.
It is a series of tries to stick myself on a wooden wall, only using duct tape. There was no science or research behind it. Just seeing how long I could stick in different ways. It also reminded me of playing as a child. More so because it had some sort of goal.
Of course, this became repetitive so I started adding figurative elements like angel wings and farmer oufits to see if it could elevate the thing but it didn't add much. I got a lot of questions about the process but none about the meaning.
What part of this action is the art work? Hanging myself up? The video of hanging myself up?
JUSTIFYING THE PROJECT
december 2021 - june 2022
It's time for more meaningful performances. I became a fan of Marina Abramovich. The video is not important. It's about the action. I want to do actions that challenge myself and my surroundings. Maybe throw in some public interaction.
1. Preaching a Dumb Dream
07/12/2021 - Main Hall Pastoe Fabriek (Utrecht) - Duration: 4 hours
It's about my view on religious leaders. I accuse them of preaching a book that's entirely made up of what their audience wants to hear.
I wanted to strip the stereotypical church service of its glamour. That's why I choose to build the crappiest looking stage (made of duct tape and a chair), wear the worst outfit (collar of ducttape to emulate the iconic preacher uniform) and read the crappiest book: "Papa met Exta's" a pulpy romantic novel that came with a magazine for free at some point.
Audience reaction was positive. Some people stayed and laughed at the terrible book. I am unsure if the message was clear to them.
As for my experience, it was not very stressful or exhausting. I raised my voice to get the attention in the room, but not at a level where it would be impossible to have a conversation.
2. Hazmat Dance
09/03/2022 - Main Entrance Pastoe Fabriek (Utrecht) - Duration: 7 hours
What does it even mean to have a party? I set out to close myself off from the world and have a party on my own. I could barely see or hear through the suit and I danced in front of the Pastoe fabriek Utrecht for about seven hours including some breaks. I was surrounded by people but none of them could hear the music I was listening to while I was frantically dancing.
I'm a goofy dancer which came in handy because I didn't want to appear threatening or mean spirited. It was nerve wrecking because I wasn't able to see the reactions of the public. During this I made a mess with duct tape. In hindsight not an important part of the performance.
Looking back at the videos and after asking some people the reactions were generally positive. People enjoyed watching me have this isolated party. There were a lot of questions though. They didn't know whether or not I was listening to music and some people were confused that I didn't acknowledge their attempts at contact. One visitor danced with me for a little bit.
3. Too bad you weren't there
june 29 - juli 03 - Main Entrance Pastoe Fabriek (Utrecht) - Duration: 5 days
There will be a stage. There will be duct tape. There will be a person.
Duct tape can stick any two things together. That's good because there is no general theme here.
It's not about anything. It's me mentally torturing myself. Pathetically trying to be intense. But the public will always be late to the actions. It's a scam.
I just killed this bird with my bare teeth. But obviously, I didn't. I'm curious if people will believe me.
The stage will get wrecked as time goes on. I'll be doing stuff and making noise but act like you caught me in the act when you see me. How does that make you feel?
Feel free to talk to me. Or not.