Can be produced in a corner you like: a concept note towards a new curation of performance art in an imagined city called Delhi.
We have read about times when the radical was to be located in the high bourgeoisie, we have lived through attempts to locate it in the ream of the popular, and we have come to live in a time witnessing a lulled celebration over the death of the radical; with sighs of relief or lament. In an increasingly intolerant and violent world, art has suddenly become highly consumable and we can’t wait to raise the toast. In a world that kills over money, love, caste, class, sex or fun, why is there a universal celebration of the most available radical positions and expressions in art? Over the last two decades performance art has largely gained from the trends toward disenchantments with the objecthood of art. In a reaction to this trend there has been a corresponding growth in interest in process and the ephemeral.
Performance art often promises to highlight the process as an anti-thesis to the celebrated finished hood, often situating itself in an anti commodity protest. It has also diversified into being a new art which transcends boundaries of recognised media, encompassing those that have not been previously identified as artistic media....especially within fine art practices. Although the genre of Performance began as a fleeting terrain between disciples, it is still claimed from within a particular framework of visual arts practices, and is increasingly enjoying a position from which the mainstream consumes it. Does this easy consumption dilute the subversive potential of Performance?
Maybe not, what we are witnessing seems to be more of a shift of the terrains in which subversions are enacted. Nonetheless the terrains in which battles are fought often decide directions in history, and this curation is an attempt to enter into this contestation of terrains. As a city based critic engaged in the research and documentation of performance art, it seems necessary to intervene curatorially at a time when there is a gradual raising of toast over the ‘growing acceptance of performance art’. Can be produced in any corner you like: is a curatorial attempt to re engage with traditions that shaped the concept and practice of Performance before it begun to be gradually integral to terrains of mainstream art institutions. This is an attempt to bring it back to the contexts framed by notions and metaphors such as spontaneous, or unprotected spaces; and re visit its potential to be en acted in someone's home, in a subway, or even at a chai galla. In these formative years of Performance’s visibility and contexts, and when the history of Performance in India is being written, a lot of these strands go unnoticed.
The curation try to find to and showcase and work with the contemporary Performance heritage of the city, seeking to create a platform which complicates any easy bracketing and positioning of the artistic practices informing this heritage. To push the ideas informing these curatorial concerns, the exhibition is proposed to be site specific, casual and interactive, enacted in corners across the city, strung together by an extensive blogging and poster campaign. It is in the same spirit that the artists are given a relatively short time in which to conceive a work, pushing forward a certain notion of experimentation. The show is proposed in the end of March 29th and 30th spread across sites chosen by the artists.