|Malediction, performed by Ann Hamilton in 1992|
Performance Re-enactment: Re-enacting and re-interpreting Malediction by Ann Hamilton
I was instantly inspired by the photographs documenting Ann Hamilton’s Malediction, really because I find the idea of taking a material—in her case, a great mound of dough—and transforming it through repetitive, ritualistic actions (she transformed the dough by taking balls of it at a time and biting in to them, leaving impressions of the hollow of her mouth). I appreciate the monotonous, ritualistic qualities of the performance, and also how the vehicle she used for transforming the dough was her own body. She commented about the work in an interview, and mentioned in our Performance Art textbook how, “a woman’s work is never done” (which is perceived as a curse, or malediction). I would like to expand upon this idea, but apply it to myself as an artist and human, using clay as my material and my face and hands as vehicles for transforming the clay. As an artist (not to mention an object-oriented artist), not only do I feel that my work is never done, but I feel that everything I do is an extension of myself—a self-portrait in a sense. Because of this, in order to transform the clay, I want to make slab-like mounds with the clay using my hands, and press these mounds to my face, emphasizing the eyes, nose, and mouths when I do so…all of which will result in mask-like impressions of my face, or in my view, self-portraits. I want to repeat this action until the large mound of clay (probably 20 lbs. or so) is transformed. I want to perform this piece in the amphitheater in Wingfield Park in downtown Reno, in order to emphasize the “spectacle-ness” of the performance—it does not require any audience participation but instead is meant to be an act that is observed and contemplated.