When I met our upcoming artist-in-residence, Jií Survka (Ostrava, Czech Republic), I knew he would be a good fit at SPACES. Jií doesnt seem to be afraid to say whats on his mind, talk about difficult things, or be politically incorrect for the sake of strong ideas. Plus hes fun.
Weve been requesting images of Jiís recent work so that we can blast you with his amazingness and convince you to hang out with him and see his performance and exhibition this fall. You can see images of his work Massage de luxe from 2008 above (Jií is the guy standing over the painted body. He's kind of naked on top, too). It reminded me of a performance by Guillermo Gomez-Penas La Pocha Nostra: Mapa Corpo.
In both performances, the artist is a conductor, drawing responses and actions out of the audience. A body, somehow altered, becomes the focal point upon which visitors must act"this kind of engagement feels very powerful. I havent yet had an opportunity to discuss this work with Jií, but I do know that the body acted upon in Mapa Corpo was a female. For me, this brings up age old questions: When talking about misrepresentations of women, ignorance about cultures, sexism and colonization, does it help to use womens bodies? Does it move us forward? Especially if the director is a male? Im not trying to make generalizations, or critically judge either of the artists Ive mentioned. Im putting this out there to see what you all think---are there other performances where youve thought about these issues? What kinds of resolutions have you come to? Have you engaged with the performance and participated in some kind of action? How did it transform your experience and understanding of the work?
Ill be talking more about Jií as we prepare for his arrival in early August. And Im excited to tell you tales of his residency during the coming months. Its gonna be CRAZY!
Posted by Sarah Beiderman, Manager, SPACES World Artist Program