Submission note: An exegesis in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts [to the] Department of Theatre and Drama, School of Arts, Communication and Critical Enquiry, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora.
‘Performing ... Art: Tracing Fleshed Performance, the Live Body in Motion’ is practice-led research. This Masters thesis encompasses a performance and cross-disciplinary arts practice as well as analysis of works by other artists. The conceptual framing explores how the performer is also a spectator of works by other artists including live performance and its documented versions. The design of ‘Performing ... Art’ (the title of the live performance at Off the Kerb Gallery) accommodates a live performance for two audiences, the gallery exhibition of works on paper created during this event and the filmed event as a gallery installation. The live performance occurred on 2 March 2012 at Off the Kerb Gallery, Melbourne, and the works on paper and filmed installation were exhibited, 2–23 March 2012. This thesis explores the phenomenological positioning of an artist-spectator in the making of live performance and works on paper. The scope of the research considers the physical and subjective experience of a performer in the process of making a new work. The thesis draws on Maurice Merleau-Ponty influenced theory concerning phenomenology and the body (Baldwin 2004, Steeves 2004, Tait 2000). Live physical performances, as stand-alone events in gallery spaces, also developed in the visual arts, can be contrasted with theatrical performance. Some gallery performances leave a residue of the event in separate artworks, which offset the ephemeral nature of live performance. Concentrating the discussion on the arts practice of Frenchman Yves Klein and Australian Jill Orr, this research explores the ways in which they created works on paper from live events. These inspire and inform this thesis project. The theoretical exploration focuses on experiences of postperformance exhibited works by other artists as precedents for the creation of art with the body in motion. The challenge of ‘Performing ... Art: Tracing Fleshed Performance, the Live Body in Motion’ was to incorporate the perspective of both performer and spectator.
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