Art Vent

Letting the Fresh Air In

To re-perform or not to re-perform? More about Marina.

March 25, 2010 - 9:18am -- Carol Diehl
While I was bobbing about in the Caribbean last week, I didn’t think even once about From the Web. Copyright may apply.


You raise some good objections to re-performance, but I don't think it's all or nothing. What if Marina re-performed those some of those works herself? I don't think that would cause any conceptual problems leading your mind to stray from the performance on view. It certainly would avoid the distracting question of who the actors are and whether they get paid, etc.

Also, re-performance can be successful, I think, if a a particular performance work depends less on spontanaiety and more on repetition, routine, of following a script or instructions. Like with all contemporary art forms, I think the types of actions that can be defined as performance art are wide open.

Your comment is thoughtful and well-taken, and of course there are exceptions in the world of performance. However even if Abramovic were to re-perform a piece, I think it would lose its relevance, as that piece marked a certain point in her development that she has now surpassed. It would be like me going back and making paintings like the ones I did 10-15 years ago. They would not have the energy of the moment, nor would they (unless I reinterpreted them for the present)serve to move me foreward.

Well Shakespeare gets re-performed every year as do other plays and pieces. Poetry gets reread. Paintings get re-hung...and there sometimes has to be room for re-interpretation of a piece, a play. Becket. We read James Joyce aloud without Joyce although I have a tape of him reading one of his works which isn't great. I'm beginning to think that maybe these pieces weren't that great to begin with and so are even weaker in re-performance. Or they are one woman shows (not like the Vagina Monologues!) that can't (shouldn't) be tried, done again...and Nina Simone re-sung all of her songs, over and over and we loved different stages of her life. "Mississippi Goddam" worked when she was younger, middle aged, and older. So what's with performance art?

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