Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen's re-enactment of "Licked Room" 2000 by Ene-Liis Semper
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen's re-enactment of "The Artist's Kiss [Le Baiser De L'artiste]" (1977) by Orlan
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen's re-enactment of "Blood Signs & Body Tracks" (1974) by Ana Mendieta
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen's re-enactment of "Vaginal Painting" (1965) by Shigeko Kubota
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen's re-enactment of "Anthropometries of the Blue Period" (1960) by Yves Klein
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen's re-enactment of "Loving Care" (1992-1996) by Janine Antoni
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen performed fourteen historical "re-enactments" (actually, thirteen plus the artist's own contemporary "The Artists's Song") at Renwick Gallery Thursday night, but for those of us fortunate enough to crowd into this west SoHo space for "A Void", almost all of whom must have missed the legendary originals, the performances may have felt pretty much like the enactments, created over the half century beginning in 1958, felt to earlier audiences - or not. In any case, now they have become acts for our own age, if only because this time we were watching fourteen of them follow immediately upon each other within the space of a single evening.
I loved it, enough to hardly notice that I was standing mostly in one place at an opening for almost three hours (with a quick break early on for another gallery's reception, a big treat itself, but one which did not offer this kind of live, one-off theater).
Much of what I've seen of Rasmussen's creative output references art, artists and the art world, but the combination of seriousness and wit in her provocative performances is distinctly her own.
Everyone's experience of the evening must have been pretty personal, but the outline of the artist's concept for this, her first solo show in the U.S., is covered very well in this excerpt from the press release:
"A Void" investigates the identity of an artist and questions the authenticity of the art work and the history of art. Performance art has been very radical in its transgressions and has expanded the categories of art. The authenticity of performance art is related to the here-and-now experience. When the performance is over, it can only be experienced through documentation far from the original experience. Even if it is performed again, it will be very different from the original experience, dependent on the artist, the audience, time and context.The remaining sections not represented in the images I include here were inspired by Piero Manzoni, Rirkrit Tiravinija, Claude Wampler, William Wegman, Yoko Ono and Nam June Paik. Did I say the performances were terrific? Also, I can't wait to go back to see what the gallery, which started out at 6pm as an empty white box, "a void", will look like during the remainder of the exhibition, once the water and other debris have been cleared away. There will be the performance documentation, of course, but I'm guessing that at least some of the canvases created Thursday night might play a role as well.
Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen re-enacts other artists' performances in her own way. The point of departure is identical, but the experience will be completely different. The historical re-enactments will follow each other without precedent announcement as one long performance. They will be documented and shown on video after the opening. Traces of the performances will also be present as drawings and photographs.
For more, including a video capture of one of the re-enactments, see Bloggy.