Chisenhale Gallery presents a major new performance by Berlin based Wojciech Kosma and his collaborators, commissioned as part of Interim, a programme of performances and event based presentations taking place in the main gallery in between exhibitions. This commission will be the group's most significant presentation in a UK institution. It follows previous Interim commissions by artists including Alice Theobald, Eddie Peake, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Elizabeth Price, Haroon Mirza, Linder, Emily Roysdon & Ian White, Pablo Bronstein and Bonnie Camplin.
Since 2011, Kosma has developed an ongoing, performative practice in close collaboration with Dwayne Browne, Sjoerd Dijk, Sofia Lomba, Llewellyn Reichman, Brian Doose, Ingrid Sattes, Timothy Murray, Ligia Lewis, Paulita Pappel, Judith Vrancken, Dylan Aiello, Gordon Douglas, Irene Moray, Jessica Lauren Elizabeth Taylor and Yunuen Rhi. Drawing on their shared rehearsal history, the performers generate a collective reality, rendering intimate and transparent relations as a situation for public participation. With only the most minimal staging, it is the co-presence of audience and performers within a given space that creates the conditions to set the performance in motion. At Chisenhale Gallery, the group will present their largest-scale work to date, preceded by a series of public rehearsals and a discussion between the performers chaired by artist and writer, Hannah Black.
In its structure and staging, the work of Kosma and his collaborators builds on the legacy of 20th Century avant-garde performance, improvisational theatre and Post Modern dance. Situated within the context of contemporary visual arts, the work is characterised by an engagement with subjectivity and affect. Representation, friction and power are explored through social encounters, which evolve into intimate relationships over the course of several performances. By collapsing the private space of intimacy into the public realm, the performances foreground the social and political implications of care and love as the most essential and most complicated of human impulses.
Rather than offering up the private lives of others for public consumption, in the mode of reality television and social media that has dominated popular culture since the 1990s, the work of this group of artists deliberately sets out to create relationships that do not and could not exist in the same way outside of the perimeters of performance. Here, performance functions as a unique forum for the participation of both audience and performers in the creation of the conditions for a set of ideas to be explored. The performers come to the work from disparate backgrounds and with various motivations, exploring their differences by developing relationships in real time and in public. The result is awkward, compelling and moving in turns.
This new work attempts to trace the trajectory of the project through the relationships of different members of the group, by including performers who have participated at different stages over the last four years. Rather than relying on documentation or attempting to re-stage past performances, the history of the project is revisited through the presence of the performers themselves, who embody the knowledge and the memory of the work. Performers who participated in the earliest, through to the most recent performances will be paired in public rehearsals leading up to a main performance, in which all six take part.
The performance at Chisenhale is a unique experiment by the group and marks a new phase of their practice. The work, to varying degrees, is coextensive with the everyday lives of the performers, but, as a unique set of relations between a disparate collective of people, it is increasingly complicated to maintain over time. This new performance acknowledges the work’s fragility, examining the implications of extending the public life of these relationships beyond their formative iterations, and asking, ultimately, what remains at stake in this live encounter, for performers and audiences alike.
The performers live and work in Berlin, Los Angeles and internationally. Recent performances have been held at Astrup Fearnley, Oslo; Galerie Kamm, Berlin, Germany; Human Resources, Los Angeles, USA (all 2014); Transmission, Glasgow, UK; Outpost, Norwich, UK; LEAP, Berlin, Germany; Muzeum Sztuki, Łódź, Poland (all 2013).
Supported by the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen (ifa), the Polish Cultural Institute in London and culture.pl.