AboutThe title âThis is Whatever' transpired by reading Thierry de Duve's âKant after Duchamp'. Within this text there is a sense of the âbattle of aesthetics' during the period of modernism and a sense of loss in post-modernism.
The idea of the performance is structured on a particular âequation'. On one side of the equation, we place The Great Modern Period of painting, or at least a selection of four artists. The other side of the equation is a selection of contemporary artists seen in the light of post-modernism. The performance in itself explores the loss and gain in such an alignment, performed as an equation.
In this context what is pertinent, and personal as a vital part of the input into the equation, is a set of sound and visual recordings made in conversations with contemporary artists. The tapes are at hand in the archives of imaginative eye, from a research project in 2000 funded by Combined Arts, Arts Council.
These voices and video are: John Latham, Paul Burwell, Alistair MacLennan, Ian Hinchliffe, Bruce McLean, Richard Layzell, Anna Best and Ella Gibbs.
The modern artists being aligned in the equation with contemporary artists will be four, they are: Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee , Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg. These are selected not only because their works are seminal but also because they have something to say about art. Klee in Pedagogical Notebooks, Kandinsky on Point, Line and Plane from his Bauhaus teaching, and his book 'Concerning the Spiritual in Art', Doesberg on the elemental function of mass, surface, time, space, light, colour, material. The affect of projected paintings, word and action will be shown as having a real relationship of its parts in terms of the equation. The performance in itself will realize the detail of the equation.
This alignment in being put forward as a means to the equation, explores what took place after the modern period to what we now call post-modern. But there is a twist to the workings of the equation. The False Pretender with a particular kind of offbeat tendency (post-modern?) encourages the development of the equation into an unexpected style of performance, which is then set out as an extension of the equation to the audience, an extension in which the audience becomes part of the equation. We tend though, to see the audience as already part of the performance by being in the same space and time. The notion of being also part of the equation in this way contributes to the sense and purpose of the whole piece as a work of art.
To summarize the above: the emphasis is between visual images of modern art at its most heroic period and a selection of contemporary artist's voices on art and creativity today and the advent of post-modernism. The result of an equation is then ârounded up' in the equation of performance. Rounded towards an imaginative presentation of possibilities, encouraged by the False Pretender.
In this equation, we have a structure within which the composition has its own dynamic, with the False Pretender as a go-between and a provocateur functioning as a âperformance director and communicator' of events, bringing out front, as it were, possibilities concerning ideas on perception, directly to the audience. This function is of prime importance to how the audience will perceive, not only the mechanics of the piece, but also how their perception might be stimulated in themselves. In addition a drawing will be made on canvas laid to the floor on which the performers make marks to punctuate their function in the equation. Members of the audience will also be invited to contribute to the drawing. The drawing in effect takes on the appearance of documentation graphically expressed, particularly when at a crucial moment it is to be taken off the floor to hang prominently and dramatically as visual evidence. To accompany this recorded interactive process, two video cameras, one viewing the overall action and one moving into detail are seen also as part of the event and evidence of the documentation process.