Saturday, April 26, 2008

Alvira Shvarts and Gregor Schneider

Following up from friday afternoon, Aliza Shvarts -the artist who artificially inseminated herself for 9 months- and Gregor Schneider - the artist who wants a person to die in his next exhibition.

Gregor Schneider wants to have someone die during his next exhibition in Krefeld, Germany. The artist has long been interested in the idea of death in the museum space, and in 2002 he pretended to die during the exhibition. Source: The Art Newspaper.

Schneider seems to explore relationships between the individual and the architecture, which for him seems inseparable from authority structures. In Weisse Folter ("White Torture") the viewer explores a succession of cramped, eery spaces.

Yale University student Alvira Shvarts has for a period of nine months periodically inpregnated herself, and systematically inducing miscarriages. According to the Yale Daily News the show will show her documentation of these nine months, including videotapes of the induced miscarriages, and blood salvaged from these self-induced abortions. The question that her work poses is whether or not the artist is completely free to use his or her body as s/he wishes. Obviously the issue of abortion is a delicate one, and regardless of whether or not Shvarts' art is good art, I personally feel that people should be guarantueed complete sovereignty over their own physicality.

In connection with the performance element in both of projects I would also like to name Marina Abramovic, who with her artistic Ulay has long explored the idea of self-mutilation, pain and performance.

In Relation in Time Marina and Ulay have entangled their hair, and edge away from each other slowly, pulling at their hair. She has also explored the notion of self-mutilation in her piece The Star, where she cut a star into her stomach.

I think that a strong link between Bioart and performance art is the exploration of physicality, whether that be through microscopic structures or the use of one's own body. I think both also draw on a strong spiritual element. Bioart is by way of the laboratory space and the specialised knowledge strongly reminiscent of the pursuit of medieval alchemy, transforming matter into something higher. This empirical component of Bioart, and the irrational element of performance art ("letting go" for the actor) suggest an Apollonian-Dionysian model.

1 comment:

J Willet said...

Thank you Alex. This is an excellent post. You may be interested in the work of Kira O'Reilly bridging the gap between durational body art and bioart.