Action: The audience enters a space to face the artist’s back, while he stands still looking up at an inflated gym ball, placed at the top of a staircase on the opposite side of the gallery. Once the audience has gathered around the artist, he slowly walks towards the staircase without removing his gaze from the ball. Grabbing the ball with both arms extended over the staircase, he drops the ball onto the floor amongst audience members. Allowing for the ball to stop moving, he descends the staircase and makes his way towards it. He moves the ball near the wall, sitting on top of it with bend knees. Attached to the wall with strips of white tape, there are 9 pieces of horizontally placed A4 paper, in rows of 3. The artist leans backwards, placing his left hand onto his stomach and holding a black marker with his right hand, removed from his pocket. He then rises up to draw a black line on the central piece of paper, and leans back horizontally. This 90-degrees movement is repeated until he draws 4 horizontal lines and a final vertical one at their middle, on all 9 pieces of paper, following an escalating rhythm of repetition. Once all pieces of paper have been marked, he crawls towards the opposite wall without detaching himself from the ball, in order to repeat the same process on a mirrored set of paper. He then moves the ball at center of the space and, whilst sitting on it, he takes off his shirt. By moving behind the ball, the artist kneels on the floor, places the back of his neck onto it and slowly ascends by attaching both arms on the ball. Whilst still holding the ball with one arm, he uses the black marker to draw the same diagram of 4 horizontal lines and a vertical one, onto his bare abdominal area. Remaining in this position with both arms raised, he carries the ball and engages in direct eye contact with each member of the audience, whilst slowly turning clockwise on the same position and the discomfort of holding the ball upwards becomes more evident. Once he completes the circle, the artist approaches a member of the audience and offers him to hold the ball, allowing himself a moment of relief. He removes a piece of paper from the ball and attaches it at the abdominal area of the audience member. The artist kneels in order for the ball to be placed again on his shoulders, and repeats this process of ‘awarding’ audience members that share his carrying weight. At the end of this activity, he places the ball into the hands of an audience member and then stands amongst the public, showing no sign of action. After a brief period of inactivity, the audience is encouraged to either take or give the ball to each other, whilst the artist has the sole role of ‘awarding’ the paper pieces. Once this flow of action is established, the artist leaves behind the last paper piece on the wall and exits the space, allowing for the process to continue without his presence.
A.B.S. (Training for performance #7)
Performance / Part of season-closing event curated by Patrick Tarres for "AFIAC" / Maison du Pays / Serviès - FR / May - 2016 / Duration: 45'
Material: artist’s body, turquoise gym ball, black marker, white A4 paper, white tape, audience members
Photo: Naomie Burlet