21 June, 2008

Shigeko Kubota 1965

Photograph of Shigeko Kubota performing her Vagina Painting, taken July 4th, 1965 at Cinemateque, E 4th Street, New York City during Perpetual Fluxus Festival. Photograph by George Maciunas.



Interview : Shigeko Kubota with Phong Bui

Rail: Over the last few decades, most artists of the younger generation, like myself, identify your work with video sculpture; but in fact you have made several remarkable performance pieces in the mid ‘60s. Let’s talk about Vagina Painting (held at Filmmaker Cooperative at Astor Place in 1965 where Jonas Mekas would occasionally let Maciunas take over the space to use for his Fluxfest) which was considered a kind of parody of Yves Klein’s use of the female body as a painting tool, as well as Pollock’s action painting. What was the reaction among those who saw it, and what did it mean to you at the time?

Kubota: They all said, “Oh, that’s a dirty idea, low art becomes high art.” Now people like it because it has a strong connection to Feminist Art, which is okay. But I didn’t really pay attention to what people thought about my work at the time. I was experimenting. The performance was important to my growth as a young artist. As you already know, through George I met Jonas Mekas, who had a great deal of influence on me and, because I recognized the connection between image and video, and since the whole performance scene became less active, I began to change my process as a result.


Les Vagina Paintings de KUBOTA and Les Anthropométries de KLEIN : les peintures menstruelles cachées et brûlées de YVES Klein (french)


Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen, A Void
Renwick Gallery
45 Renwick Street, 212-609-3535
February 28 - March 29, 2008

Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen recreates Shigeko Kubota's 1965 performance "Vagina Painting" at her opening at Renwick Gallery.

Performance + 12 re-enactments by Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen

During the opening from 6-9 PM, Lilibeth Cuenca will make a live performance of her piece "The Artist's Song", followed by re-enact performances by Piero Manzoni, Yves Klein, Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono, Ana Mendieta, and others. "The Artist's Song" deals with the different positions and genres in art. The film will be presented after the performance.

"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.

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.

Lilibeth Cuenca Rasmussen (b. 1970 in Manila, lives and works in Copenhagen) had a solo exhibition in X-Rummet at Statens Museum for Kunst Copenhagen in 2006, and at Gävle Konstcentrum in Sweden. Furthermore she participated in the Busan and Rauma Balticum Biennales. She was chosen as Artist of the Year 2006 in the year book "Dansk Kunst 06". In 2007 she will participate in "Global Feminisms", Brooklyn Museum in New York, with performance and video.

images & video

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