A performance by Paula Kiermaier in Athens (Athens School of Fine Arts), June 2023
Material I used:
plastic bag, my collection of stones and little metal objects, water and a nail
Sketch to explain, how the procedure was:
We wish Ana Mendieta was still alive. A performative intervention to remember the Cuban-American artist Ana Mendieta.
“No one knows what truly happened on that late-summer morning in 1985. What remains unacceptable, however, is yet another example of a woman’s career being defined by the relative success of her husband, of a female artist’s legacy overshadowed by her tragic biography while her husband’swork remains relatively untouched by it” (1)
Ana Mendieta, Body Tracks, 1974 (2)
(In 1985 Ana fell to her death from her apartment in Greenwich Village, causing a stir in the art world. She had a tumultuous marriage to artist Carl Andre, who many believed was involved in her death. Despite lacking eyewitnesses, Andre was acquitted in 1988 after a three-year trial. The support that Andre received from individuals in the art world, who appeared to be more concerned with advancing his career and shielding him, was deeply surprising to many. Their apparent indifference to whether he had committed the murder left many in shock.)
Short note about Ana Mendieta (1948–1985)
. born in Cuba
. Mendieta moved to Iowa at the age of 12 along with her sister through a US government asylum initiative for young people following the Cuban revolution
. initially trained as a painter, changed to the university’s newly established MFA in Intermedia program, where she began shaping her interdisciplinary art
. during her graduate studies, Mendieta initiated her first performances and photografic records (around the theme of violence against women, suffering experienced by the female body)
.throughout her career, Mendieta’s explorations of representation were firmly rooted in an intersectional understanding of identity, where considerations of race, gender, age, and class coexisted. (7)
Ana Mendieta, Silueta series in Mexico, 1976 (3)
Because Ana was not mentioned at her husbands large retrospective exhibition in New York, the collective called No Wave Performance Task Force (“[…] a flexible collective in New York that enables performative social sculpture, practicing Feminist construction rather than reacting solely to existing conditions of patriarchy, gender, sexuality […]”4) carried out a series of interventions at the exhibition venues Dia Foundation in Beacon and Chelsea.
These interventions aimed to rekindle a discussion about Mendieta by opposing her work with Andre’s elegant geometric sculptures.
One of those interventions, mentioned before, was the following event in 2015: “CRYING; A PROTEST”
No Wave Performance Task Force, CRYING; A PROTEST, 2015 (5)
In this event fifteen feminist artists, poets, and activists gathered in the museum’s galleries to mourn Ana Mendieta’s memory. Their intense emotional reactions, in stark contrast to Andre’s “refined” geometric art, likely seemed especially disruptive to other visitors and gallery staff.
“Crying is often seen as a sign of weakness, of emotional excess, and coded as feminine. As a group, though, our tears were seen as a disruption — a threat. Like much of Ana Mendieta’s art, our performance was ephemeral.” (2)
The feminist group effectively transformed the indifferent aestheticism of Andre’s minimalism into an emotionally charged site of mourning instead of only grief. His geometric structures were repurposed as memorials to Mendieta.
Emotionality plays a significant role in Ana’s works too. To remember her and keep her art alive, I want to show some more photos of her works:
Ana Mendieta, Ocean Bird Wash Up, 1974 (6)
Ana Mendieta, Bird Transformation, 1972 (6)
Ana Mendieta, Blood and Feathers, 1974 (6)
Ana Mendieta, untitled (Guanobo), 1981 (6)
(1) A. Castro (2015). The Weeping Wall: The Mendieta Case. esse arts + opinions, 85 , pp. 76–78. https://www.erudit.org/fr/revues/esse/2015-n85-esse02064/78603ac.pdf [accessed 18.10.2023]
(2) Ana Mendieta (1974). Body Tracks. [colour photograph, 25 × 20 cm] https://artreview.com/ar-april-2018-feature-ana-mendieta/ [accessed 18.10.2023]
(3) Ana Mendieta (1976). Untitled from Silueta series in Mexico. [C-print on Kodak Professional paper] https://scma.smith.edu/blog/performed-invisibility-ana-mendietas-siluetas [accessed 18.10.2023]
(4) https://www.facebook.com/nowavetaskforce/ [accessed 18.10.2023]
(5) M. Crawford (2015). Crying for Ana Mendieta at the Carl Andre Retrospective. https://hyperallergic.com/189315/crying-for-ana-mendieta-at-the-carl-andre-retrospective/ [accessed 18.10.2023]
(6) S. Rosenthal (2014). Ana Mendieta – Traces. Hatje Cantz Verlag.
(7) A. Pucker. Z. Lukov. Ana Mendieta. Art In Common. https://www.artincommon.art/ana-mendieta-bbt [accessed 21.10.2023]
Further information: https://www.instagram.com/crying_classroom/
Am Dienstag, 4.7.2023, wird zwischen 10 und 18 Uhr die Performance
I WILL MAKE 8 HOURS OF MY PAST UNDONE.
von Marin Müller im Kiosk.6 (Sophienstiftsplatz, Weimar) stattfinden.
Next Tuesday, 4.7.2023, between 10 am and 6 pm, the performance
I WILL MAKE 8 HOURS OF MY PAST UNDONE.
by Marin Müller will take place at Kiosk.6 (Sophienstiftsplatz, Weimar) .
Crying Classroom invites crying expert Laura Leal
We will delve into the meaning of crying as a tool of resistance through movement. Exploring the qualities and gestures of crying and related concepts, we will experiment with giving body and space to our tears, however, they present themselves. We will confront their inherent power as an instrument of strength.
Please bring shoes and clothes in which you can comfortably move, as well as a bottle of water.
Wednesday, 28th June 2023, 8 pm, 116 @ Van-de-Velde-Bau, Bauhaus University Weimar
I despised this carpet from the moment I stepped on it, almost 3 years ago. But I had no choice, don’t you get it? It was the only space available for my hope-nothing-hope transition.
I am Nađa, whose name was filtered by the passport control devices on several occasions, which, in its new version – Nada, has been serving me for the past years due to the untranslatable Serbian letter đ.
Nadja is a Slavic female name, known in Arabic as Nadia, and in Russian Надія – in both languages meaning hope. However, in an international context, my new name Nada is translated as nothing in most cases.
Hope becomes nothing in this migration, nothing to hope for becomes my life, and hoping for nothing my ultimate goal.
Today, I woke up sad as if everything drowned. But I had no choice, don’t you get it? I am thinking about the projects. What if the Crying Classroom takes place in my own room, outpouring the tears absorbed on this ugly carpet?
Who covers the whole flat with a carpet? I still have not met the owner of the flat so I can ask him.
Still, I am squeezing my eye lobes on its surface while waiting for a change (of the carpet’s color at least). As it is becoming wet, the gray dots of its texture transform to a dark blue color. I start liking it more. Should I cry more? Should I cry a river? An ocean? A carpet?
Today, my tears are labeled with pressure. The pressure of this moment, partially yesterday, inevitably this evening, and always of tomorrow. The pressure dissolves my body, takes control of my actions, hurts my mind, and makes me sick. The pressure of you, of the screens, people, days, objects, him, definitely her, and myself.
I am sitting on the floor of my room imagining the person that will inhabit it after me. Will they try to untangle the complex history of this carpet as well?
________ crying …
… as restricted sign of sadness in ancient times, strong emotions were seen as dangerous, loss of control
… is still considered to be shameful, a sign of weakness
… can be done as an act of freedom
crying as a ritual
> raise awareness of own emotions, emotional wellbeing
> breaking with the stigma: crying = weakness
> soothing effect
> visual reminder of staying in touch with ourselveS
form of tears repeats itself endlessly when lighting it
> combination of old and new tears
> object that holds and visualizes emotions, companionship of emotional process
candle, rapeseed wax _________
silicone moulding _____________
Welcoming woes with a brave mind”
Diverse range of tear colors produced in response to different emotional states.
The depths of sadness, a yellow teardrop is a sure sign of an individual’s ability to produce copious amounts of tears. This skill can be developed through years of intense emotional turmoil and is often seen in individuals who have been forced to endure countless romantic dramas. The yellow teardrop is characterized by its clear, almost transparent appearance, and is often accompanied by a sense of numbness or apathy.
The product of deep, all-consuming grief. This color is often seen in individuals who have suffered a significant loss, such as the death of a loved one or a divorce. Violet teardrops are thick, heavy, and often seem to cling to the skin. They contain a high concentration of stress hormones, indicating a state of emotional distress and great personal pain.
Orange and Red Teardrops:
The orange and red teardrops are a result of intensely passionate emotions, such as anger or intense frustration. These colors are rarely seen, as they require a level of emotional intensity that is difficult to sustain. The sharp, jagged edges of the red and orange teardrops are a testament to the raw power and uncontrollable nature of these emotional states.
The silver teardrop is a rare occurrence, seen only in those with a deep, reflective personality. These individuals often have a strong connection to themselves and their emotions and are acutely aware of their inner world. The silver teardrop is often reflective, catching and bending the light like a prism. It is a beautiful, fleeting remnant of the inner world that can sometimes be seen in a moment of emotional intimacy.
The golden teardrop is the pinnacle of emotional intensity. It is seen only in those who have experienced a state of emotional ecstasy, such as experiencing a sudden and life-altering realization or finding true love. The golden teardrop is characterized by its brilliant, luminous glow and is said to contain a high concentration of endorphins and other pleasure-inducing substances.
The pink teardrop is a rare and beautiful expression of love and joy. It is often seen in those who have experienced a deep, passionate love or who have been touched by a significant act of kindness. The pink teardrop is characterized by its soft, delicate appearance and is often accompanied by a deep sense of calm and contentment. It is a testament to the power of positive emotions and the ability of human beings to experience pure, unadulterated happiness.
"Sniffles and Scribbles"
The illusory world of self-optimization and self-realization
seems to have no limits on social media and burns itself
into our subconscious which increases inner insecurity. We bring the imparted half-knowledge into conversations, allow ourselves to be influenced by superficial opinions and thus become the robots of the data monopoly that is constantly outstripping itself.
The constant overflow of information results in overthinking. As if the head were constantly banging against the wall, it should reflect an almost painful movement of despair. To illustrate this desperation, i let a randomly moving “robot” roll on the ground like a crying child. The sounds of the engine reminds of a subtle screeching scream.
In order to visualize this chaotic overthinking i made use
of an mechanism i found in a cat toy. For the first experiment
i attached my hairs to one side of the hemisphere of
this exact toy to include a physical connection to my body. The placement on the grand piano creates this nonsense pattern of
sound, no control and no harmony.
The movement only comes to rest when the battery is
empty, while the battery symbolizes the battery of the devices themselves as well as our battery of stamina.
8,5 x 8,5 x 8,5 cm
Real hair, cat toy, acrylic lacquer, acrylic paint
Sun Yuan, b. 1972, Beijing; Peng Yu, b. 1974, Jiamusi, Heilongjiang Province, China
The nothingness of life mirrored in a programmed sequence of movements. Ever more hopeless, slower and “looking older”, the robotic arm erected by the artist couple Sun Yuan & Peng Yu in the Guggenheim New York has been assembling its blood-like life fluid since 2016. It is not without reason that people find themselves in the repetitive ‘lifestyle’ of this ignorant object.
The installation “Can’t Help Myself” offers space for reflection on our everyday life and penetrates to the question of the meaning of life. She combines birth, life and death in a playful way until the initially energetic and organic arm comes to a standstill in 2019. After such a long time of fighting, the arm seems to be coming to an end after all the exhaustion. The unease triggered by voyeurism leaves emotional traces in visitors, despite its lack of emotion.
“No piece of art has ever emotionally affected me the way this robot arm piece has. […] The arm slowly came to a halt and died in 2019, but with a twist – the bot, called a kuka servo, actually runs off of electricity, not hydraulics, so it was working its entire life towards something it didn’t even need, tricked by the system it was brought into. So now I’m crying over a robot 😭” comments the musician Kricked.
“According to the artists, the robot provokes an absurd, Sisyphusian view of current issues related to migration and sovereignty. The bloodstains collected in the cage are intended to remind of the violence resulting from surveillance and guarding of border areas.”
loosetooth.com, Dec 02, 2021, https://www.loosetooth.com/blog/can-t-help-myself-by-sun-yuan-peng-yu
Guggenheim.com, 2016, https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/34812
Classenfahrt, Fabian Fröhlich & ilbolive / Stefano Gueraldi, 2019, https://www.classenfahrt.de/artikel/bcanrt-help-myselfl-(2016)-444/
Andre Fraser – Official Welcome, 2001, Crying Part of Performance: 01:03:47-01:07:34
- The original text of Official Welcome includes quotations, unattributed in the actual performance, from a number of contemporary artists and critics including Benjamin Buchloh, Gabriel Orozco, Damien Hirst, Tracy Emin and Kara Walker, as well as comments made by Bill and Hillary Clinton.
- Each time Official Welcome is performed, Fraser adapts small elements of her script so that the speech includes specific references to the institution involved in the event.
- For the version performed in Hamburg, Fraser incorporated comments on her work written by Yilmaz Dziewior, the curator of the show at the Kunstverein 2003.
- Both the content of the speech and the manner in which Fraser performs in the video satirise the conventions of formal art events.
- The work places particular emphasis on the exaggerated praise often given to an artist’s work by critics and curators, and the arrogance or false modesty that may be offered by artists in return.
- In 2012 Fraser suggested that Official Welcome is about: “the profound ambivalence that’s haunted so much twentieth-century art and particularly avant-garde traditions – the kind of love-hate relationship that artists have with art, its institutions, and the people who support them.”
Playing a role:
- exploring the different roles played by individuals within the art world, as well as the purposes and policies of art institutions -> institutional critique.
- Fraser does not explicitly inform the audience of the specific role she is inhabiting at any one time, the changes between different personae are signalled by distinct shifts in her tone, language and posture, often to comic effect.
- For instance, while she is fluid and grandiose during some sections, at other times she stutters as if struggling to articulate her thoughts.
- Official Welcome can also be viewed within the history of performance art, especially in its claim that the performer is ‘an object in an artwork’. In stripping down to her Gucci underwear and high-heeled shoes, Fraser draws a parallel with Show 1998, a work by the Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft in which fifteen female models (ten wearing Gucci underwear and high-heels and five in only their shoes) were positioned in the atrium of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.
- In Official Welcome the provocations Fraser issues while standing in her underwear – including ‘kiss my ass’ and ‘kiss my tits’ – draw attention to how the female body has been depicted in art throughout history
- “I’m not a person today. I’m an object in an artwork. It’s about emptiness.“
- and raise questions about the status of women within the art world more generally.
Crying out of pain, the pain of being displaced…
The pain of displacement refers to the physical, emotional, and psychological distress experienced by individuals and communities who are forced to leave their homes, either voluntarily or involuntarily, due to a variety of reasons such as conflict, natural disasters, or economic hardships. Displacement can sometimes cause physical pain, particularly if people are forced to flee their homes abruptly or in dangerous conditions.
Moreover, the stress and trauma associated with displacement can also manifest in physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances. The physical pain experienced by those who are displaced can be compounded by the emotional and psychological pain of losing their homes, possessions, and social networks, as well as the uncertainty and insecurity of their future. Feeling displacement can certainly lead to crying as it is a natural human response to emotional pain and distress. The experience of being displaced can be incredibly overwhelming and distressing and can lead to a range of emotions such as sadness, fear, anger, and despair.
“To be torn from home and country, from dear friends, from all that has been familiar and beloved, to leave one’s own land and enter a strange and hostile land, – this is a great and bitter sorrow.” Bertrand Russell, philosopher and writer.
Why “Home” is not happening?
Displacement and sense of place are closely related. Sense of place refers to the emotional and psychological attachment that individuals have to a particular location, which can be shaped by a variety of factors such as cultural, historical, and social connections. Displacement involves being forced to leave one’s home and community, which can lead to a loss of sense of place and identity.
When people are displaced, they often experience a sense of disorientation and disconnection from the places and people they know and love. They may feel a sense of longing for their old home and community, and struggle to adapt to their new surroundings. This can be particularly difficult for individuals who have strong ties to their sense of place.
“Homesickness is a kind of vertigo of the soul, an intense longing for a place or a time that may never have existed.” Sabrina Orah Mark
Let me cry a river…
We may cry when we do not feel at home because feeling a sense of home is often associated with feelings of comfort, safety, and familiarity. When we are in a place where we don’t feel like we belong or where we feel out of place, we may experience a range of emotions such as anxiety, stress, and loneliness. These emotions can be overwhelming and difficult to manage, and crying can be a way for us to release and express these feelings. Additionally, feeling like we don’t belong can be associated with a sense of loss or grief, particularly if we have recently experienced a major change or transition in our lives such as moving to a new city or country, or losing a loved one, OR sometimes, all of them at the same time!
When we experience emotional pain, our body and mind may respond in various ways. Physically, we may feel tension or discomfort in our muscles, changes in our breathing or heart rate, and other physical symptoms. Mentally, we may feel overwhelmed, anxious, or preoccupied with our thoughts and emotions. Crying can be a way to release this tension and express the emotions that we are experiencing.
“Home is where the heart is, but what if your heart is in pieces?” Emma Bleker
This quote captures the struggle of trying to make a place feel like home when you are going through emotional pain or difficult circumstances. It highlights the fact that feeling at home is not just about the physical space or surroundings, but also about the emotional and psychological connections we have with that place. If we are struggling with emotional pain or disconnection, it can be difficult to feel at home even in a familiar setting, and we may need to work on healing and rebuilding those emotional connections before we can truly feel at home again.
Scene of the movie “Eternity And A Day”, directed by Theo Angelopoulos, 1998, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternity_and_a_Day
“Veiled tears: A Portrait of Sorrow II”
“Veiled tears: A Portrait of Sorrow”