Thanks to the arts patron, John Kaldor of Kaldor Public Art Projects, everyone in Sydney could get the chance to see the fiesta of visual art performances by visiting 13 rooms for 13 artists’ works this year.
Through the panel discussion, ’13 rooms and the time of performance’, the relationship between performers and performances is discussed. In 13 Rooms, all works except Coexisting by the Australian artists team, Clark Beaumont, were performed by volunteers of arts students and Sydney dance company not by the creator of performances. And some works were re-enacted in a form of a record of the history not as a new work such as Joan Jonas’s Mirror Check, which was first performed by the artist in 1970. Even artists themselves – through other performing volunteers – re-enact other performance artists’ works or their own works: John Baldessarie’s Thirteen Colourful Inside Jobs, 2013 is the re-creation of his 1977 video performance, Six Colourful Inside Jobs, 1977.
As Marina Abramovic is recognised as a prominent artist in the performance history and she did not perform the piece herself, her work was discussed in the matter of the authenticity. As an artist who incorporate the element of performance in the photographic medium, I consider the performance as a medium chosen by the artist in the same manner, artists choose other mediums such as painting, sculpture and video. The exact same landscape at the same vantage point with the same lighting condition and composition taken by the same camera by different photographers, makes different images. Because the artwork is not a mechanical product through the same methology but the visualised concept with each artist’s intention, emotion and interpretation. So the performance work is presnted by others not by the creator changes its meaning whether it is performed through the given script and training. It is impossible to have an exact same result by different performers even though they try to. The Sydney theatre company director, Andrew Upton commented regarding this discourse of authenticity in performance arts: “The performance is blood and the theatre is a tomato sauce.” The project, 13 Rooms offers the complex reflection on performance arts.