The exhibition explores the points of contact between his politically-charged early performances and videotapes from the USA and his pioneering role in the developing sound art scene in Europe. At the start of the 1970s, Terry Fox was already producing works together with Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconci, Dennis Oppenheim and Bill Viola. Fox not only used his own body as a medium for exploring liminal experiences, but also took a playful approach to the transformation of materials. Through his understanding of his works as “situations”, he was one of the first to critique the commercialisation of performance art and point up the problematic nature of the technological constraints on recording such art.
Elemental Gestures, curated by Arnold Dreyblatt and Angela Lammert, opens up a new perspective on current debates over the appropriate museal presentation of temporary artistic interventions. The exhibition combines video, sound and photo materials with corresponding objects, drawings and written texts to create associative avenues of thought on three key themes in Terry Fox’s oeuvre: situations/Verkörperte Zustände—mapping/Wege—elements/Material. In this process, a sensational find of previously unreleased video and photo materials and working notes is also being publicly shown for the first time. The Elemental Gestures title, which references Fox’s street actions and minimalist interventions, describes his belief in the cathartic effect of art which, in its utopian content, needs to be re-examined and redefined.