Louvre Museum, Paris, 2013
Artemis/Artifice was the first in a series of works that arise from the frustration of institutional spaces that are designed to provoke reverence, but somehow fail. These works most often respond to my feelings of frustration or irritation62. I respond to the spatial conditions present by co-opting a space within the gallery or museum in order to create performances that enliven the institutional space for myself alone — and by extension the ‘other’ alone or affirmative essential solitude as essential to the research hypothesis for all others. Unlike the provocative works of Andrea Fraser63, my interventions work at a more subtle critique or institutional codes, thereby affirming the poetics brining forth a contemplative and silent ethos in relation to the spatial conditions of the museums and galleries. This performance arose within the site of the Louvre shortly after encountering their statue of Artemis, Goddess of the Hunt in Greek mythology. Improvising movements inspired by the drawing of a bow and arrow I stalked the empty space, attempting to pierce the dead, static, stifled artifice of the museum construct with an expression of life force, movement and spontaneity. In a video recording of my thoughts after the performance I reflected on how:
“...everything is really dead, really static, nothing moves, nothing breathes, nothing is alive...I had started to feel dead in here until I saw the empty space.”
This was my first visit to the Louvre in Paris and I was quite overwhelmed by the number of people there, thrumming with the energy of simply being there, but where?
The there of their being is not that of thinking and dwelling, but rather the fantastic and spectorial presentation of making it to one of the most revered art museums in the world —a landmark now of French and International tourism. It appeared that what most were ‘looking at’ was not the significance of the works of art, but the archiving opportunity evidencing their own being there. In this sense, I read the everyday tourism of the site as the dominant register and the works of art were secondary to the works of individual histories being performed and recorded for narcissist enterprise. All works of art experienced as mediated screens of their camera, iPhone or iPad.