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Cruel Story of Youth (about the project Child’s Play)



I love performance because it is an immediate, mute, obvious and yet legible form of art. It is so universally legible that it becomes sometimes illegible for the art world. As said once the spanish artist Esther Ferrer, "The simpler you are, the simpler the way you express what you think, the more difficult it is for others to accept it".

I love performance because it is theater indifferent to success [1]. It can be artificial but never lying. It can never be failed because there is no success expected.

I love performance because it is at the same time voluntary and unresolved. Even if we (as an audience) understand very well the situation, we never know how it will end. It is a situation set that can go totally out of control, although it needs will, obstinacy, precision.

I love the economy of performance, which is a pragmatic economy of using the most basic material that one has. Just what is immediate. Just : the body, the brain. Just : love and will. Just : space and time. Just : life and death. But watch out, if performance can be very simple in its objective, its consequences will always be extremely complex. That’s what I call the nuclear force of art : tiny little rubs that create explosions of sense and emotions. Emanations of energy from almost nothing, which have unlimited and very long-term effects.

I love performance because once one is launched into it, one cannot go back, one cannot erase, one cannot do better, ameliorate or detail. Performance leave little room for doubts. Performance must fight with time. Performance is taking risk. Risk to be pathetic, ridiculous, weak, immediately misunderstood. It is a model of bravery. It is a model of acceptation of a minoritarian position. Such risks that I would also like to take in my activities of art critic and curator.

I love performance because, as said Arthur Cravan, "Art is not a little posture in front of the mirror. To paint is to walk, to run, to drink, to eat, to sleep and to poop". In general I like gestures in art, I like intentions more than objects. Performance is essentially made of gestures and intentions. Performance is basically made of a common material called decision.

I love the polysemia of the word "Performance". As an art form and a record. Performance as a business term (linked to the idea of efficiency) and a sport term. Performance as a measure of the capacity of going beyond one’s limits.

I love performance because it is an art of movement and an art of storytelling. An art of action and of narration. I never really saw the historical performances I work with. Like many people, I just saw images and just read reports. Did it even happened ? Not even sure. And still it remains impressing and moving. With almost nothing. A loose image and a description can be far enough to express its strengh.

As a curator, I want to tackle performance from a universal point of view. I want to work on its decontextualization. Because I like to consider art as active and not reactive. As a cry and not an echo. I want to consider the arts as a sum of autonomous signs, escaping social, political and psychological determinism. I much prefer to consider the consequences that the causes of the art work. Also, I want to approach physically the art work.

For all those reasons I proposed the project "Child’s Play".

Guillaume Désanges, july 2008