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Hélia Marçal and Daniela Salazar
‘Political-Timing-Specific’ Performance Art in the Realm of the Museum: The Potential of Reenactment as Practice of Memorialization
Can reenactments be a way to create counter-narratives in and for the museum? Through the analysis of political performance (or what the artist Tania Bruguera calls ‘political-timing-specific’ artworks), this essay discusses the potential of reenactment as both a practice of materializing memories and narratives of oppression and of rethinking museum policies in terms of preservation and display. Its main argument is that, while the archive can be regarded as a form of materializing the memory of these works, reenactment is more than a way of recovering the past; it is also a device for reconstructing memories of activism and oppression. This essay further suggests that reenactments of political-timing-specific works demand a change in accessioning, conservation, and presentation practices, which might be inclined to erase decentralized art-historical and material narratives.
2022. reenactment; museum; activism; political-timing-specific art; memory
Performance Art in the 1990s and the Generation Gap
In the 1990s, the question of the legacy of historical performance was posed with a particular sense of urgency. In the context of most pioneers of the art form having retired from live performance, reenactments not only reproduced past works but positioned artists within the genealogy of performance. The sense of the passage of a generation and the transmission of the memory of past performances were made explicit by Marina Abramović in The Biography (1992), a theatre piece in which she stages the very process of accounting for her past, as well as by Takashi Murakami and Oleg Kulik, who emerged on the art scene in the 1990s and mimicked live works from the past.
2022. Performance; Reenactment; Generation; 1990s