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Article

V. V. Vanslov

(Pavlovich)

(b Kharkiv, April 16, 1901; d Moscow, Sept 6, 1968).

Russian stage designer, director, painter and graphic artist of Ukranian birth. He studied in Petrograd (now St Petersburg) from 1915 to 1919 in an artists’ workshop under Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Aleksandr Yakovlev and Vasily Shukhayev. From 1920 to 1922 he worked as a stage designer in Khar’kov (now Kharkiv). In 1923 he returned to Petrograd, where he worked as a book illustrator and stage designer at the Theatre of Musical Comedy, the Theatre of Drama and the Gor’ky Bol’shoy Theatre of Drama; he also worked in Moscow, at the Theatre of the Revolution, the Vakhtangov Theatre and the Moscow Art Theatre (MKhAT). From 1929 he worked as a director, designing his own productions. He was the Art Director of the Leningrad Theatre of Comedy (1935–49), where the most notable productions he directed and designed were Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1938), Lope de Vega’s Dog in the Manger and ...

Article

(b Chicago, June 5, 1947).

American performance artist, sculptor, draughtsman, and writer. She completed her BA in art history at Barnard College, New York, in 1969 and had her first one-woman show there in 1970, exhibiting sculptures and drawings among other works. She then trained as a sculptor at Columbia University, New York, receiving her MFA in 1972. Much of her work has built on her childhood instruction as a classical violinist, and she achieved popular notoriety in 1981 when her song ‘O Superman’ became a popular hit in England. Her first performance piece, Automotive, took place in 1972 at Town Green in Rochester, VT, and involved a concert of car horns. In 1974 she staged another music-based performance entitled Duets on Ice in which she appeared at four different locations on New York sidewalks wearing a pair of ice skates with their blades frozen in blocks of ice, and she proceeded to play one of several altered violins until the ice melted into water. In subsequent years, she has continued to work primarily as a performance artist, using projected photographs, films, texts, and music to create technologically sophisticated and elaborately staged events. Many of these performances have featured instruments of her own invention. The most famous of these was a violin with a recording head on its body and a strip of audio tape in the place of the hairs on its bow. This piece allowed her to play the human voice as an instrument by changing its speed and cadence with the movements of her arm. The most complex and spectacular of her performances, ...

Article

Paule Thévenin

[Antoine Marie Joseph]

(b Marseille, Sept 4, 1896; d Ivry-sur-Seine, March 4, 1948).

French writer, draughtsman, stage designer, actor and director . He learnt to draw and paint in 1918–19 while staying in an establishment near Neuchâtel where he had been sent suffering from a nervous complaint that had begun in 1914. There he was prescribed opium in May 1919. He arrived in Paris in the spring of 1920 and visited salons, galleries and studios, produced art criticism (see Oeuvres complètes, ii), continued to sketch small portraits of himself or his family and composed poems. In the atelier of Charles Dullin (1885–1949), where he trained as an actor, he was asked to design the costumes for several performances. Nevertheless, after an attempt in 1923 to paint the portrait of a young friend and her father, he abandoned painting and drawing. Through the painter Elie Lascaux (b 1888), whom he knew from Max Jacob’s circle, he met the art dealer Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler and the artists of his gallery. He became a friend of André Masson in particular and soon became a regular visitor at Masson’s studio in the Rue Blomet, then also frequented by other painters such as Joan Miró, Jean Dubuffet and Georges Malkine and visited by writers Robert Desnos (...

Article

Ulrike Gaisbauer

(b Pressburg, Aug 28, 1940).

Austrian painter, writer, film maker and musician. While still at school he wrote short novels and songs, drew comic strips, composed pieces for ocarina and piano and was three times Austrian junior national yachting champion. From 1957 to 1963 he was a student at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna. His sensual pictures, which express a totally egocentric personality, sparkle with lively imagination. They incorporate the idea of metamorphosis as a consistent leitmotif and are therefore always undergoing a process of transformation. The idea of beauty, as part of a wide-ranging aesthetic view of the world, often forms the core of his artistic statements and is the basis of his numerous actions.

Attersee’s invented words and objects, for example Food-ball or Prosthesis-alphabet, are the result of an intellectual exploration of ordinary objects in everyday reality, as well as of current linguistic patterns. From 1967 to 1968 he produced his ...

Article

Justine Hopkins

(b London, Feb 20, 1921; d London, Nov 16, 1975).

English sculptor, painter, printmaker and writer . He left school at 14 to begin his painting career. After spending time in France, Ayrton returned to England in 1939, finding success in stage design and art criticism. His writings in The Spectator (1946–8) were important in the acceptance of Neo-Romanticism. From 1946 he travelled widely in Italy, admiring the Quattrocento painters, especially Piero della Francesca. At Cumae he began the preoccupation with Greek mythology that continued throughout his life; he visited Greece regularly from 1957. After 1955 sculptures became his preferred medium, although drawing remained essential and he produced etchings and lithographs. However, his many bronzes of the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus (e.g. Icarus III, 1960; London, Old Change Court) remain his best-known images. The Arkville Maze (1968), built of brick and masonry, contains two lifesize bronze sculptures and still stands in the estate of Armand Erpf in the Catskill Mountains, New York (see Hopkins, p. 402)....

Article

Éva Bajkay

(b Budapest, Oct 14, 1914; d Budapest, May 3, 1986).

Hungarian painter, printmaker, critic and stage designer . He studied at the School of Applied Art, Budapest (1930–34). Bálint went to Paris for a short time and then attended János Vaszary and Vilmos Aba-Novák’s private school in Budapest, where he met his future brother-in-law Lajos Vajda, whose Constructivist–Surrealist style had a great influence on him. They spent their summers together at the Szentendre colony. Béla Czóbel’s lyrical expressive paintings also influenced Bálint’s early work. From 1939 to 1942 he edited the art column of the newspaper Népszava, to which his father had contributed until 1925, and also published his own articles. He destroyed many of his early works after World War II. The persecution of the Jews was the theme of a series of linocuts, By Candlelight (1939–41; see Román, nos 21–4). In 1946 he became a member of the European School in Budapest, and in 1947 he went to Paris and took part in the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme (Gal. Maeght). Subsequently his work changed, and in his ...

Article

Peter W. Guenther

(b Pirmasens, Feb 22, 1886; d San Abbondio, Switzerland, Sept 14, 1927).

German writer and performer . After studying sociology and philosophy at the universities of Munich and Heidelberg he began working as a stage manager at the theatre in Plauen in 1910. He wrote a number of plays while in Munich in 1912. He also wrote poetry and was charged with obscenity for his poem Der Henker (pubd in Revolution, 15 Oct 1913) but was later exonerated on account of its ‘unintelligibility’. About this time he experimented with Expressionist painting. His plans to form, with Vasily Kandinsky, a new type of experimental Expressionist theatre in Munich were interrupted by the beginnings of World War I. Ball volunteered but was rejected for health reasons. He became a pacifist and published poetry and prose in several journals.

Ball became a leading figure in the development of the Dada movement, and he is credited with inventing the name. In 1915, with Richard Huelsenbeck, he organized Expressionist readings in Berlin. In May of the same year he emigrated with ...

Article

David Kinmont

(b Paris, Oct 18, 1859; d Paris, Jan 3, 1941).

French philosopher. The son of a Polish Jewish musician, he took his baccalauréat at the Lycée Condorcet in Paris and entered the Ecole Normale Supérieure in 1878. He gained his Licencié ès Lettres in 1879 and during 1881–8 taught in secondary schools at Angers, Clermont Ferrand and Paris. The publication of one of his two doctoral theses, Essai sur les données immédiates de la conscience (Paris, 1889), brought him public recognition. It was followed in 1896 by Matière et mémoire.

Bergson was concerned with the problem of expression, and he attempted to resist the linguistic snares that he associated with conceptual thinking, arguing instead for an organic philosophy. He was aware of the inadequacies of the mechanistic determinism of 19th-century scientism, especially as presented in the English philosopher Herbert Spencer’s First Principles (London, 1862). Bergson saw reality as a constant state of dynamic flux in which past, present and future formed a single continuum. The question of time was all important to him, and he insisted that the time of consciousness existed on multiple interrelated levels. The fusion of these heterogeneous instants comprised a duration. This was not purely quantitative measurable time, but time as it is experienced by human consciousness. To Bergson, duration meant memory, and memory was synonymous with consciousness, an unending flow rather than a succession of discrete instants....

Article

Michelle Yun

(b New York, Feb 5, 1960).

American multimedia artist, curator, and writer. Blake received a BA from Bard College, Annadale-on-Hudson, NY, in 1982 and an MFA from the California Institute of Arts in Valencia in 1984. Upon graduation he moved to San Francisco where he worked as a curator at New Langton Arts, San Francisco, until his return to New York in 1996. Most notable of his curated exhibitions was In a Different Light, at the University Art Museum, Berkeley, in 1995, the first museum exhibition to examine the influence of lesbian and gay artists on contemporary art. In 2003 Blake became the founding Chair of the International Center of Photography/Bard Masters Program in Advanced Photographic Studies at the International Center for Photography in New York.

Blake’s performances, installations, and curated exhibitions have consistently tackled issues relating to sexuality, race, and representation. In his youth the artist was influenced by Joseph Cornell, and early sculptures such as ...

Article

Michael Howard

(b Vercelli, Piedmont, March 11, 1806; d Dijon, March 5, 1867).

French painter, illustrator, set designer and poet. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Guillaume Lethière from 1821. The Punishment of Mazeppa (1827; Rouen, Mus. B.-A.), inspired by the scene from Byron’s poem, in which Mazeppa is tied to the back of a wildly stampeding horse, is his most important early painting and one of the key images of the Romantic movement.

Early in his career Boulanger became friendly with Eugène and Achille Devéria. Through them he met Victor Hugo, who became his ardent supporter and the source of many of his most typical works. Among Boulanger’s illustrations were those for Hugo’s Odes et ballades (1829), Les Orientales (1829), Les Fantômes (1829) and Notre-Dame de Paris (1844). Boulanger interpreted the macabre and romantic quality of Hugo’s texts with an imaginative power and freedom that anticipated Redon (e.g. ‘...

Article

Julia Robinson

(b New York, Aug 27, 1926; d Cologne, Germany, Dec 5, 2008).

American sculptor, performance artist, and writer. A proto-conceptual artist, Brecht emerged as part of the group of avant-garde composers and artists surrounding John Cage in the late 1950s. His model of the ‘event score’, a short textual proposition meant to activate the experience between subject and object, was a pivotal contribution to the conceptual strategies of art in the 1960s. A member of Cage’s Experimental Composition courses at New York’s New School for Social Research (1956–60), he wrote chance-based, indeterminate scores, first for music, and eventually for events in all dimensions. In October 1959 his first solo exhibition, Toward Events: An Arrangement (New York, Reuben Gal.), featured constellations of ready-made objects in familiar ‘frames’, such as a regular medicine cabinet (e.g. Repository, 1961; New York, MOMA) or a suitcase, with instructions indicating how they could be perceived as ‘events’ via suggested (but open) time-based encounters. Between 1959 and ...

Article

Trudy van Zadelhoff

[Johannes] (van)

(b Leiden, c. 1596; d Breda, Sept 13, 1650).

Dutch etcher, painter, poet, musician and botanist. As early as 1610 he enrolled as a student at Leiden University. He was a member of the Muiderkring, a society to which such people as Caspar Barlaeus (1584–1648) and Constantijn Huygens belonged. Although he was a versatile artist, he seems to have been less successful on a social level. Much is known about his life from his correspondence with Huygens. In 1639 he became secretary to the innkeeper in Heusden, near ’s Hertogenbosch, and by 1642 had moved to Amersfoort. At this time he was in close contact with the architect Jacob van Campen, for whom he translated the treatises of Vitruvius and Palladio. In 1646 Huygens found him a job at Breda University, where he taught Greek and botany. But his private life gave rise to criticism: Rivet, the university curator, condemned Brosterhuisen for living with his housekeeper, and on Huygens’s insistence he finally married her. In ...

Article

Hugh Davies

(b Los Angeles, Sept 5, 1912; d New York, Aug 12, 1992).

American composer, philosopher, writer and printmaker. He was educated in California and then made a study tour of Europe (1930–31), concentrating on art, architecture and music. On his return to the USA he studied music with Richard Buhlig, Adolph Weiss, Henry Cowell and Arnold Schoenberg; in 1934 he abandoned abstract painting for music. An interest in extending the existing range of percussion instruments led him, in 1940, to devise the ‘prepared piano’ (in which the sound is transformed by the insertion of various objects between the strings) and to pioneer electronic sound sources.

Cage’s studies of Zen Buddhism and Indian philosophy during the 1940s resulted in a decision to remove intention, memory and personal taste from music, based on the Oriental concern with process rather than result. According equal status to both structured sound and noise, he treated silence (the absence of intentional sounds) as an element in its own right. In the early 1950s he began his close collaboration with the pianist ...

Article

Giuliana Ricci

(b Viadana; d Mantua, 1700).

Italian architect, stage designer and writer. He was the brother-in-law of Giacomo Francesco Motta, superintendent of the Teatro Grande in Mantua, whose surname he adopted and who probably assisted him in his youth. He began working at the court of Mantua as a painter c. 1650, later becoming general superintendent of buildings and prefect of theatres. In 1668 he built a theatre (destr.) for Luigi Fedeli at Mantua, with a proscenium arch similar to that introduced by Giovanni Battista Aleotti at the Farnese Theatre (1618–19), Parma. It had a central space bounded by two stepped levels, three tiers of boxes and an upper balcony. This theatre was the site of Carini Motta’s only documented stage designs, those for the Torneo a’piedi (1674), recorded in engravings accompanying the libretto published in Mantua. In 1688 he designed the Teatro dei Comici, Mantua, with five tiers of boxes as well as the parterre. Carini Motta also produced a considerable number of stage devices and machines; firework displays and ceremonial structures for the coronations of Popes Clement IX (...

Article

Hélène Bocard

(b Fareins, Ain, April 1, 1828; d Paris, 1906).

French photographer, caricaturist, and writer. He was trained as an industrial designer, then, like Nadar, he embarked on a career as a caricaturist. He was passionately fond of the theatre and published a series of lithographs, Le Théâtre à la ville, in Paris in 1854. He founded literary reviews, among which was Le Boulevard (1861), which established his reputation. After an apprenticeship in 1858 with Pierre Petit, he began to photograph artistic, literary, and political personalities with whom he was associated politically, including the composer Gioacchino Rossini (pubd 1877; e.g. in Rochester, NY, Int. Mus. Phot.) and Emile Zola (pubd 1877; e.g. in Rochester, NY, Int. Mus. Phot.). He also photographed actors, including Sarah Bernhardt and the mime artist Charles Deburau on stage. Some friends, including Gustave Courbet (e.g. pubd 1878; Rochester, NY, Int. Mus. Phot.), were the object of a series of photographs. He was also the accredited photographer of ...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b London, Oct 23, 1948).

English poet, sculptor and performance artist. He studied at the North East London Polytechnic (1968–71) and then under the sculptor Bernard Meadows at the Royal College of Art, London (1971–4). His first solo exhibition, at the Air Gallery, London, in 1977, was followed by shows at the Camden Arts Centre, London (1979), and the Arnolfini, Bristol (1980). From 1982 to 1985 he lived and worked in Norwich as Henry Moore Fellow. In the 1990s he became head of sculpture at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. Catling’s sculpture and performances are often based on a metaphysical view of ordinary materials and objects, dwelling on their spiritual and emotive presence. His performances involve intense, symbolic activities made in a state that he has described as ‘the chrysalis of mania’; he also made oracular readings using props invested with ‘magical properties’, suggesting comparisons with the performances of Joseph Beuys. During ...

Article

Francis Summers

(b Chatham, Kent, Dec 1, 1959).

English painter, poet, printmaker and musician. He studied for a short time at St Martin’s School of Art (1980–81) before being expelled. He was famously Tracey Emin’s partner before she achieved fame as a ‘Young British Artist’, his name featuring prominently on her infamous tent, Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–95 (1995; London, Saatchi Gal.) Indeed, their work shares a simplicity of execution and confessional frankness that links them beyond the divide Childish placed between them. A prodigiously prolific artist, he produced reams of self-published poetry, released many albums (through nine groups including Thee Headcoats), wrote novels and created a vast number of paintings. He clung to his outsider status, however, decrying what he saw as the egotism and commercialism of the London Art scene. His style of painting and printmaking was greatly indebted to German Expressionism, specifically to the work of Emil Nolde. Following the example of early 20th-century artists, Childish also published manifestoes, including the Stuckist manifesto of ...

Article

(Maurice)

(b Maisons-Laffitte, July 5, 1889; d Milly-la-Forêt, Oct 11, 1963).

French writer, film maker, draughtsman, painter, printmaker and stage designer. Self-taught and with an insatiable desire to experiment with a wide variety of media, Cocteau combined his activities as a writer and artist with the roles of catalyst, patron, socialite and man of the theatre. His production as a painter, draughtsman and printmaker is mostly regarded as tangential both to the development of French art from the 1920s to the 1950s and to his own creative activities. In general his art has been regarded as an elegant but slight and fundamentally decorative variation of elements from the work of Picasso, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship in 1915. The cult of personality surrounding him, which he did little to discourage, has continued to cloud assessment of his work as a serious artist. Nevertheless the correlations that he created among different media, through his poetry, highly imaginative films and influential work for the theatre, were essential in defining the experimental ambience and cross-fertilizations of art in Paris between the two World Wars....

Article

Tessa Sidey

(b Stevenage, Jan 16, 1872; d Vence, France, July 29, 1966).

English theatre director, designer, theorist, printmaker and typographer. He was one of the great, if controversial, innovators of the modern theatre movement. The son of the actress Ellen Terry and the architect Edward William Godwin, Craig was born into a strong theatrical tradition. He abandoned a promising career as an actor with Henry Irving’s Lyceum Company in 1897 to concentrate on directing and developing ideas about ‘the theatre of the future’. Inspired by Hubert von Herkomer’s scenic experiments with auditorium lighting and three-dimensional scenery in productions at the Bushey Art School, Herts, Craig exchanged the conventions of realistic scenery for a suggestive, abstract interplay of form, light, movement and music. This new total theatre drew on the imagination to create an architectonic vision of choreographic movement, colour harmony, visual simplicity and atmospheric effect united under the sole control of a single artist. Influenced by his relationship with the dancer Isadora Duncan, he also proposed a concept of the rhythms and movements in nature acting as the vehicle for an emotional and aesthetic experience....

Article

Matthew Gale

(b Vólos, Greece, July 10, 1888; d Rome, Nov 20, 1978).

Italian painter, writer, theatre designer, sculptor and printmaker. De Chirico was one of the originators of Pittura Metafisica. His paintings are characterized by a visionary, poetic use of imagery, in which themes such as nostalgia, enigma and myth are explored. He was an important source of inspiration for artists throughout Europe in the inter-war years and again for a new generation of painters in the 1980s. His abrupt stylistic changes, however, have obscured the continuity of his approach, which was rooted in the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche, and this has often led to controversy.

His parents came from the Italian diaspora within the Ottoman empire. He was very close to his brother, Andrea (who later adopted the pseudonym Alberto Savinio). As children they identified themselves with the heavenly twins, Castor and Pollux, while their closest associates became the Argonauts (a reference to Giorgio’s birthplace, Vólos, from which, in Greek legend, the Argonauts departed to retrieve the Golden Fleece). The brothers’ inherited Greek culture was a consistently rich source of inspiration. Their father, Evaristo de Chirico, was an engineer engaged in supervising the construction of the railway in Thessaly. He encouraged his sons’ artistic talents, engaging drawing tutors for Giorgio and sending him to study with the Swiss painter ...