This autumn, articule will join with RiAP 2014 in presenting a performance art event that brings Polish and Montréal-based artists together. Justyna Gorowska, Michelle Lacombe, Devora Neumark, and Marta Ostajewska will explore modes of expression through the body, time, space, and signs.
In an era of cultural globalization, what links can be traced between ways that issues relating to body or place are expressed in performance art around the world? Does a shared national or global history influence the body’s modes of expression?
At a time of increasingly competitive identity construction, how can performative practices be seen to play out mechanisms of social conditioning, and to do so through interventions that reproduce, distort, or contradict them? Where does the self reside, cloned as it is on social networks?
As the individual becomes less distinct against a landscape of information, imagery, and signs, the performer’s body remains a site of resistance. It acts as a liminal space not only between public, private, and intimate spheres, or between the individual, the collective, and the political, but also between being and non-being, between existence in the world and its mere representation. It is reinvested in the same way that a place is activated by the poetry of the space. The individual expresses itself as much through its relationship with others as through its absence, the void signalling a waiting, an Other, revealing the presence that surrounds the lack.
Through playing on customs and codes anchored in everyday life, performance art exposes the weak spots and in so doing creates spaces for reflection—something that is increasingly necessary in an environment of standardized experience.
Justyna Gorowska has a university diploma from the Intermedia Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. She lives and works in the small town of Skawa and specializes in a number of mediums, including photography, installation, sculpture, and site-specific performance art. Of her practice, Gorowska says, “What is very important in my work is the concept. The contemporary post-humanist trend is very close to me. I'm interested in the condition of a man who no longer occupies the central place in the universe. Who is not afraid to lose their autonomy and be fully immersed in the reality (as water in water). I like to explore the boundary between being and non-being, and the hard-to-define space of permanently participating in a liquid fullness.”
Michelle Lacombe (Montréal, QC) has developed a unique corporeal practice since obtaining a BFA in Visual Arts from Concordia University in 2006. Resolutely minimalist, she mixes performance and drawing in a sober, subtle, and tragic process of inscription. She has presented performances at events, exhibitions, and symposiums in Canada, the United States, Germany, and France. Lacombe is committed to the development of critical and alternative forums for live art and undisciplined practices.
Devora Neumark, Ph.D., is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher and a faculty member in the MFA Interdisciplinary Arts program at Goddard College, Vermont. She has long been involved in live art and dialogic community performance, and the subject of her recent research is the conjuncture between forced displacement and the role that beauty plays in homemaking; she also asks questions about the implications that the repetition of stylized narratives of home can have, including the perpetuation of violence wherein “home” is the subject of controversy.
Devora also works closely with First Nations communities in Quebec; she is currently interim Vice President of DestiNATIONS: Carrefour International of Indigenous Arts and Cultures and is responsible for the development of new initiatives and financing opportunities for the First Nations Human Resources Development Commission of Quebec.
Marta Ostajewska is pursuing doctoral studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. She has a diploma from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts (KASK) in Ghent. Ostajewska has performed at the MAYDAY MAYDAY theatre festival and at Ghent’s Museum of Contemporary Art (S.M.A.K.). As well as performance art, she works in installation and video and has shown at Galerie Croxhapox and Institution Crombeen, Ghent; The Manhattan Gallery, and Lodz Kaliska Railway Station, Lodz; and the Human Hotel, Copenhagen. Ostajewska is fascinated by object-ontology and explores relationships between space, objects, and the body through site-specific interventions and performances that often take place in abandoned, urban spaces.