Performances for museums
DURATIONmore or less 1 hr each time
FORMATperformances for exhibitions
From 2014 to 2017, Valeria Apicella has created three performances for the Musée d’art moderne in Paris (MAM) and two for the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples (MC). These creations were commissions, each institution seeing in her work the possibility of a fruitful encounter between an original artistic proposal and the educational requirements of “public mediation”. This way, the performances have been conceived both has site specific pieces and as corporal, visual and sonic studies exploring the artists or works in exhibition. Namely, Jimmie Durham for the performance Sweet Whispering (MAM, 2014), Carol Rama for Ormalacra (MAM, 2015), Carl Andre for Minimum Maximum (MAM, 2017), Pablo Picasso’s Parade for Apparizioni (MC, 2017) and Guido Reni’s Atalanta ed Ippomene for Il Segreto dell’ombra (MC, 2017). Getting closer to the audience’s body and in the same time, closer to the artist’s body, practice and thinking. These were the inseparable desires at the root of these efforts: a kind of double dialogue. At the beginning of each creation process were set up meetings and interviews with the artists, when they were still alive (Durham, Rama) and/or an important work of documentation and analysis. During the performances, with the help of objects, costumes and sounds, Valeria Apicella aimed to synthesize like a prism these multiple levels of sensations and informations. She dived into the animal, the childish, the masculine, the organic, the ordinary and the extraordinary, she became a battlefield, a territory seized between various worlds, times and images. It was about calling together without preconceived hierarchies, like a chaman, the various artistic forces (material, aesthetical, biographical) that gave birth to the work in exhibition. And doing so, about overcoming the narrative and the figurative, in order to present the body itself as the place of the sensation. Typically, in Il Segreto dell’ombra, the story of the painting was told as an introduction, before the feminine and masculine figures of the painting were mixed and merged together into the performer’s actions and postures.
Each creation developed some level of interaction with the audience. The spectator was always free to come and go, he could choose how to participate and let himself get conducted by the ever transforming materials proposed by the performances. In Sweet Whispering, Valeria Apicella sat among the spectators to give them torn pages of the Duram’s exhibition catalogue. In Minimum Maximum, the possibility given by Carl Andre himself to walk on some of his metal works inspired a kind of “performed visit” and, in one room of the exhibition, a collective closed eyes touch experience. In Apparizioni, spectators were given a program that could be folded to transform itself into a rectangular mask reminiscent of Picasso’s experiments for Parade’s ballet figures. These associations and stratifications of ideas suggested to the audience other points of view on the exhibitions and on the museum spaces, making the experience more immersive and participative. When successful, this immersion into the poetic of action renewed the spectator’s capacity to imagine and interpret, made him present to his own look and able to pick into the action fragments something of his own emotion. With the exception of Minimum Maximum, all were solo pieces. This loneliness seemed necessary, for the viewer to establish a kind of empathic relationship with the figure. It permitted, through this interpenetration, to empathize and fall into the feeling that the body tried to exude. The viewer was not a plural spectator but an individual who sought his own experience through the performer. Sitting or walking, he too was looking for himself in this proximity.