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Artists' Association MUU » 15.1.-7.2.2010 Essi Kausalainen
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15.1.-7.2.2010 Essi Kausalainen

MUU gallery

Kausalainen_haeder

My solo exhibition Performance Portraits consists of videos in which people of different ages execute performances scripted by me. Taped in a white studio, the duration of the performances varies from a few minutes to half an hour.

As a performance artist, I am familiar with using my body and its experiences as the starting point and substance of my work. What I want to do with Performance Portraits is to expand the language of my art beyond my own body and to see what happens when a performance is given by someone else.

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Wilma, 2009, photo: Mikko Kuorinki

The performers are all from my immediate circle of family and friends who do not necessarily have any experience of performance art, but who for that very reason show themselves to be extremely interesting performers. The videos examine each performer’s manner of being through their body, motions and gestures. The reason for my choice of performers is to give the audience new ways to approach my work and to offer a fresh viewpoint on its content. A five-year-old boy or a man of sixty can both invest my work with meanings that my own body is incapable of doing.

From the thematic viewpoint, the videos in Performance Portraits are a continuation of my solo performances. They too examine our being in the world, our way of organising and managing the reality that surrounds us. By concentrating on some seemingly meaningless detail (the motion of a branch in a current of air, the way a stone or a piece of paper falls, the weight of the body on a chair, or the skin’s friction) I want to make visible something that is central to our relationship with the world. The use of ordinary materials – colour pencils, fruit, leather gloves, staggering or cellotape – links my performances to the world of everyday experience and thus also invites the viewer to join me in wondering about the mystery of being human.