ARCHIVE_2010 » Reduplication of the Real | Tactile Bosch | 2010

photography by Neil Jeffries

photography by Neil Jeffries


21st January till 6th Febuary @ The Old Library in Cardiff City Centre

One of the main shortfalls in the critical understanding of Performance Art is the lack of awareness among contemporary curators of how to successfully curate the medium into the context of a traditional white walled gallery space. The primary reason for this is likely to be the additional layer of complexity involved in curating Performance Art as the curator is unable to see the work prior to its creation and so is unable to fully visualise how it will relate to, and be framed by, its context. A difficulty that is increased further by the fact many performances transform throughout their duration, deviating from the artists original aesthetic and even thematic intentions. This makes it particularly difficult to integrate the medium into an exhibition space alongside other less transient Art forms and has led to performance regularly residing in the more unkempt venues of more experimentally minded artist run organisations and co-ops.

However, interest in Performance Art has increased rapidly over the last decade as artists and writers embrace the themes of anti-commoditisation and anti-commercialism that the Art form inherently embodies, which in turn has led to an increased level of attention from those running the more established venues. This has led to a number of successful attempts to incorporate performance within the programme of established venues such as Merina Abramovic presents… at the Whitworth Art Gallery Manchester and the Performa biennale in New York as well as notable local events such as Common ground at Plan 9 Gallery in Bristol.

This increased acceptance then helps facilitate a broader range of new initiatives on how to exhibit the medium. One of these curatorial approaches is the collection and preservation of the mediums physical by-products with a view to exhibiting them. One of the main exponents of this both locally and nationally is the Trace Gallery & Collection that retains and exhibits a selection of the soiled, embellished and battered objects left at the end of a performance. The inspiration for Reduplication of the Real is a similar premise, just instead of props it focuses on the photographs taken to document the performances.

The photographic documentation of Performance Art events is seen often as just a prosaic method of recording the act for future reference, which means its strengths as a stand-alone Art form are rarely tested. Yet, many of these images are fascinating, poignant and even humorous in their own right. They are a montage of esoterically linked everyday objects juxtaposed with a performer, focused in their entirety on a single action; all frozen in a single frame. The photographs, with their distorted everyday actions and objects, can come across as something anywhere between an uncanny distortion of the everyday and a gross and disturbing dream-like sequence.

However, beyond their aesthetic impact, like performance Art itself, the exhibition of these images asks questions about the nature of Art itself. The images capture a single instance from a performance and isolate it from the context of both the space outside the frame and the other actions carried out in the performance. By doing so they distort, sometimes beyond recognition, both the imagery and thematic of the source performance. This alteration of original intentions in conjunction with the little or no co-ordination between the photographer and artist and the way the images are uploaded and distributed among peers, truly tests the notion of authorship and artistic intention and their relation to both artistic quality and monetary value.

Reduplication of the Real is an attempt to highlight the strengths many of these images possess and poses the idea of them as artworks in themselves with there own unique qualities.

Curator: Neil Jefferies


Andréanne Abbondanza-Bergeron, Phil Babot, Bean, Benjamin Bellas, Anna Berndtson, Adina Bier, Angus Braithwaite, Rose Camastro-Pritchett, Kate Clark, Leighton Collier Roux, Florian Feigl, Linda Franke, Werther Germondari, Ian Giles, Brian Hastings, Faith Johnson, David Kefford, Robert Ladislas Derr, Kate and Paul Lindholm, Justin McKeown, Jeff Thompson, Paul Wiersbinski