History of Disappearance
The final room of the exhibition illustrates the diversity of the work preserved by the Archives of Franklin Furnace. It begins with a selection from an artists’ books collection through to a variety of documented performances and current online based commissions. This room includes key works by Patty Chang, William Pope.L, Matt Mullican and Tehching Hsieh.
Tehching Hsieh’s second One Year Performance (1980-1981), informally known as Time Piece, focuses on the nature of time and involved punching a card in a time-clock on the hour, twenty-four hours a day for one year. To help illustrate the time process, the artist shaved his head before the piece began, and then let his hair grow freely for the duration of the project. Every time he punched the clock, a movie camera shot a single frame. The resulting film compresses each day into a second, and the whole year into approximately six minutes.
Patty Chang’s practice is inspired by the endurance art pioneered by the early work of Chris Burden, the body art of Carolee Schneeman, and the self-referential imagery of Cindy Sherman. Her work has grown to encompass photography and video based on her performance art. In Fountain (1999) Patty Chang poured water onto a surface of a round mirror lying flat on the floor and, kneeling over it, strenuously slurped the water off. This action, which was repeated for thirty to forty-five minutes at a time, was captured by a stationary video camera, and the image was projected both on a monitor outside the gallery and onto a screen behind Chang’s body.
Since his first hypnotic performances in the 1970s Matt Mullican has continued to explore the construction of the world by investigating the real and imaginative boundaries of his studio whilst under hypnosis. Here the artist moves between real and fictional worlds and between the conscious and subconscious. Drawing geometric shapes with tape, he enters into the enclosures he has created and takes on identities of other people. In this performance Mullican retained control over the suggestions made in advance of being hypnotised – he could therefore direct the nature of the trancelike journey, though not the outcome.
William Pope.L is best known for his Crawl Project which he has been staging periodically in city streets. He has staged over forty crawls since 1978 as an extension of his large eRacism project. His performances vary in duration. Some are done on the spur of the moment without preparation, whilst others push the limits of his physical endurance. In 2002, scheduled to coincide with the opening of the Whitney Biennial, Pope.L set off on his most ambitious crawl to date, The Great White Way, a 22 mile crawl up the length of Manhattan. It was performed in stages over a five year period and took him from the Statue of Liberty and through the borough via Broadway, ending in the Bronx, where his mother resides. In these public performances he laboriously drags his limp body along city pavements dressed in different costumes.
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