Makeshift presents video works by three leading international artists: Carlos Amorales, Vanessa Beecroft and Gillian Wearing. Curated by Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy, a graduate student at the Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies in Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, the exhibition highlights the performative aspects of contemporary video art.
Makeshift investigates the work of three artists who have reflected on the notion of personal interaction within existing social frameworks. The works in the exhibition examine the role of performance in our everyday lives—how our actions and behaviors are predetermined by our environments.
Carlos Amorales has created a fictional character, a wrestler, who wears a mask designed as the artists’ own portrait. In Amorales Interim (1997), an actor, wearing this mask, performs a set of conditioned and planned scenarios, displacing the artist’s narrative and the contexts, function and audience of Mexican wrestling.
Vanessa Beecroft uses actors bodies as live, standing statues for her performances. Models almost identical in appearance are motionless and mute for hours. In Piano Americano (1996), models are united (or “branded”) by their uniforms of wigs, high heels, brassieres and pantyhose, yet camouflaged by the muted colors and modular arrangement of their bodies in space.
In contrast with Amorales and Beecroft’s direction of actors, Gillian Wearing encourages the participants to “be themselves.” In Confess All on Video. Don’t worry, you will be in disguise. Intrigued? Call Gillian (1994), the artist placed an ad in a popular British magazine to attract the participants in her project. The respondents were disguised and then videotaped while recounting their innermost secrets. Referencing religious confessionals, therapy sessions and American talk shows, Wearing’s piece blurs the line between personal text and public performance.