Jimmy Durham

When I first started this MA course Jonathan K suggested I look at the work of Jimmy Durham, which I did briefly. This is a closer look.He created sculptures that radically challenged conventional representations of North American Indians.

Here is an interview with him

EDIT MAY 2016  When looking back at Durhams work I discovered this !

Funnily enough according to Wikipedia (!! )he was interviewed by Hans-Ulrich Obrist in Venice, on the social live video broadcasting platform Periscope on May 5th 2015.

He briefly spoke about as-yet unrealised projects, cooking without recipes as a rule, his books of collected poetry, his most and least favorite poets, and always writing by hand while at the same time disliking handwriting. He concluded by answering Obrist’s request for advice to a young poet or artist: “Listen, always listen; don’t talk, but listen.”

and this…which makes me reflect on the interviews  during  my May 1st work May 1st 2016 #Crouch Hill #apreoccupation

Hans-Ulrich Obrist (born 1968)  Artistic Director at the Serpentine Galleries, London. and author of The Interview Project, an extensive ongoing project of Apparently around  2000 hours of interviews have been recorded, and published, referred to by Obrist as “an endless conversation”. .  a total of 69 artists, architects, writers, film-makers, scientists, philosophers, musicians and performers share their unique experiences and frank insights.Wikipedia.com

” the first time that the idea of an interview with an artist as a medium became of interest and  sparked the idea of sustained conversations—of interviews recorded over a period of time, perhaps over the course of many years;”
Hans Ulrich Obrist A brief history of Curating Artbook.com

A summary of the ‘blurb’s below ( as I didn’t get to the Serpentine  exhibition which finished in November 2015 unfortunately)

Durham combines  disparate elements, such as written messages, photographs, words, drawings and objects.

The core of Durham’s work being his ability to explore the intrinsic qualities of the materials he uses, at times fused with the agility of wordplay , and above all irony .

His  practice is a continuous exploration and production of hybrid and seemingly fragmented installations that invite the viewer to reconstitute or reconstruct the underlying signs embedded in his works.

His work addresses the political and cultural forces that construct our contemporary discourses and challenges our understanding of authenticity in art.

He challenges the idea of monumental works and narration of national identities by deconstructing the stereotypes of the Western culture is based.
Drawing on subjectivity,  personal history, cultural context and ecology to weave seemingly disparate narratives into his work.

He discusses the importance of Small Things in a word of Big Events such as conflict and mass migration,  in this interview of the Transformation Marathon at the Serpentine.



Test Run : Performance in Public – Modern Art Oxford and Ruskin Shorts

This was an exhibition running at MAO as described below my text :

I found this seminar really refreshing and it reminded me of performance as an unmediated act, very different and a contrast to the other things I am doing and thinking about ( apart from the constant link with memory …as a processing and remediating of an experience)

Anyway it was really good to hear the speakers and talk to Clare Carswell and Alex Bulghair ( I haven’t seen Alex for a long time, since we met in London with our discussion group).

Mainly this just reminded me of the immediacy of performance and how I may be able to use it at the Reading Room at some point… I had more or less forgotten about using it at a location!!!

Too much thinking…

Also on the weekend following I took part in a Hamish Fulton Walking Performance on Christ Church Meadow in Oxford along with about 30 other people and lead by Hamish Fulton, himself.

It was very useful to be part of a large group work and te behaviour of passing tourists was alos fascinationg.

Some joined in and some tried to walk through the performance as if it didn’t exist… including dragging their wheeled suitcases with them…

Then Jefford Horrigan performed a really short and sensitive piece outside St. Aldates church.

As usual it was based on Jazz and Film Noir but basically he danced tango with a tall filing cabinet… Magical.

Here is a video of him with a table in Berlin….

It, in particular, reminded me of the affective power of simple performance and try to think how to incorporate this int o my MA Work from a live point of view…

( Text copied from their website)

Modern Art Oxford presents Test Run: Performance in Public – a multidisciplinary exploration of ideas which focuses on artists who use public space specifically for performance.

Through a selection of new and historical works, Test Run examines what happens when ‘normal behaviour’ in public spaces is disrupted and how expectations of public behaviour can be exploited.

Using film and documentary material, discussions and interactive sessions, Test Run

explores the making, curating and presentation of performance in public space. Including

live performance, talks, workshops and a series of three new commissions, Test Run links

links the interior space of the gallery to public locations in Oxford’s city centre.

On Saturday 25 April, Modern Art Oxford hosted a Symposium to discuss performance art and performing in public. The presentations by artists, academics and curators were recorded and you can see the videos below.

Speakers included artists Hayley Newman, Anthony Howell and Florence Peake (whose workshop I have described in a previous post), Director of LADA Lois Kiedan and curator Nicola Lees.

Then on the Tuesday 28th there was Ruskin Shorts also at MAO which, for this year, was performance by staff, students and alumni of Ruskin.

Here is are 2  videos

There were a couple of notable performances but the one that had the most resonances for me was the one by the last artsit… I can’t find her mane but will fill in later.

She has just completed her PhD at Goldsmiths and used a very effective combination of performance( singing) with video and screen saver images.

There was also work from the Digital ? Scholarship MA?.

Will check this also, who used a Skype conversation as part of her work which was unscripted and althopugh it was clear in intention,  and use a very effective animated avatar of the performer, is for me, fell between performance infront of an audience and participation…

I’ve thought  of using this as a means of presentation but more as a participative tool, with and audience… actually without an animated avatar, but she used it to discuss some interesting contemporary theoertical ideas about art and artists, What is art? What is it for? and value..

There was also a fascinating and moving piece of spoken word b Amy Wilson, reading out descriptions of images of people from a list of official data which was haunting, partly due to the amazing delivery, which helped reinforce the repetition and the use of words instead of visual images of distressing’ pictures’ of victims of conflict.

All these very very useful in  making me rethink my ideas of performance and its relationship with documentation and liveness for my project going forwards into the future

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha

I have discovered this amazing ACT ( Art, Culture and Technology)  MIT Program site with enough visual and lecture material to keep me busy for weeks.

This lecture ( as below) introduced me to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, a Korean artist I was not familiar with!

How did I miss her !

Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Passages Paysage
Courtesy of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Translations of Memory
Elvan Zabunyan
Art critic, historian, and Associate Professor, University of Rennes (France)

“The starting point of Elvan Zabunyan’s talk is the work of Korean-born American artist and poet Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. In 1980, having left her native Korea seventeen years earlier, Cha returned to work on a film project she described as “memory [that] materializes directly on the screen.” Cha was fluent in English, French, and Korean and worked with words as images and with images as words, using the structure of language and translation to create a multiplicity of narratives in time, space, and memory.

Elvan Zabunyan is a contemporary art historian and art critic based in Paris. Her research focuses on the redefinition of contemporary art history through postcolonial and feminist art and theory in the context of the genealogy of cultural displacement. She is the author of Black Is A Color: A History of Contemporary African-American Art (2005) and Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Berkeley, 1968 (2013). Her essays on contemporary visual arts have appeared in books, exhibition catalogues, and journals. She is an Associate Professor at the Rennes University (Brittany, France) and Director of the Curatorial Program in the Art History Department.”

Her work is also featured in this book Visualizing Feeling: Affect and the Feminine Avant-garde by Susan Best which will be a key reference for me, as it features Lygia Clarke, Anna Mendieta and Eva Hesse , all of whose work  my work has referenced and echoed even when I don’t intend it to.

£111  or £14 on Kindle! guess which one for me…

Also this lecture which is in French but still has some good video!


Despite the ‘distance ‘ of this performative work from the digital work I have been investigating it is still at the core of my practice.

Somehow I have to bring these two aspects together.