Art and Tradition

Examples of Performance

What does performance mean?

The term performance is used to define a type of artistic manifestation oriented to interdisciplinarity. This means that involves various disciplines of art  in one piece, can be found painting, music and dance . It is used through the scene and acting, incorporating time, space and the body as elements. In addition to these, the presence of the artist is essential when exhibiting the work. In this way, he interacts and relates to his creation and to the viewer.

Now, history records the beginning of this manifestation during the early twentieth century, it was registered as avant-garde art. For this reason, performance is frequently associated with movements such as Happenings, Futurism and Dadaism. It is characterized by being presented live, because its focus is on generating through the action a reaction from the viewer . Generally, the performative art not follow a script, it manifests itself only from a theme chosen from the concern and need of the artist.

On the other hand, it is necessary to mention that the performance movement has come to be considered part of experimental art. It does not follow traditional forms or structures, it is completely free and unconventional. This kind of art is defined as unique, ephemeral and unrepeatable. When executed without a script, there is no way that the performance is expressed in the same way twice. Therefore, the experience of the artist and the spectator will change with each presentation, thus breaking the formalism of other stage arts.

Performance Characteristics

  • It is temporary, its exhibition or presentation occurs during a certain time.
  • It is characterized by being unpredictable and spontaneous. Performance is not a manifestation that is anticipated and structured, it can happen anywhere, anytime.
  • It does not follow a precise script or guidelines like other performing arts.
  • It is unique and unrepeatable, it is not reproducible, it does not appear twice in the same way.
  • It deals with themes from the interest and expressive needs of the artist.
  • It transmits to the public ideas, thoughts and feelings from visual perception.

Elements that are part of performance art

  • Time: Represents the duration of the performance, the instant in which it occurs and the seconds, minutes or hours that are not reproducible.
  • Space: It is the place or location in which the action, improvisation and interaction occurs from the performance with the environment and with the viewer.
  • The body: It is used as a tool through which the idea on which the performance arises is transmitted and expressed.
  • Action: It is defined as the motor element of all performance. The action begins and ends, marks the beginning and the end, and also invites the public to observe and participate.
  • The artist: Its function is to raise the theme and the idea, and after that, individually or collectively, give life and express what is proposed. In the same way, he is the one who links the viewer with the performance.
  • The spectator: He is the one who observes the performance art, is linked actively when it is part of the manifestation and passively when only the presence.

Performance types

  • Happening: It focuses on the intervention and interruption of public spaces. It aims from improvisation to interact and involve the public.
  • Fluxus: It is characterized by demonstrating against commercial art. Being a type of performance, it is based on improvisation worked from action, these two are its fundamental bases.
  • Body Art: In this type of performance the body takes the leading role. It is used as a canvas and a support on which the artist expresses himself.
  • Sniggling: It is defined as a type of performance with a natural character, to the point that the viewer does not realize what is happening. It usually takes a while to be understood as a performance event.
  • Action Art: It is known as a manifestation of performance that is based on the process of creation. The artist executes activities or actions in which the artistic event originates.

Performance examples

  • The Origin of the World by Deborah Robertis.
  • Yards by Allan Kaprow.
  • Rhythm by Marina Abramovic.
  • Transfiguration of Oliver de Sagazan.
  • One year by Tehching Hsieh.
  • 4’33 by John Cage.

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