”The only difference between utopia and reality is action”
We are pleased to present this second edition of the international performance art encounter Infr’Action Venezia. You will encounter artists in actions around viale Garibaldi, Castello, Gardini pubblico, Arsenale, and on occasion San Marco. This independent showcasing of artists from todays performance art scene at the Venice biennial have a signification.
Infr’Action Venezia’ is an outdoor event, and its concept of deframing stems from a will to rethink the function and modus operandi of contemporary art. It goes further than the idea of the unframed, or being outside of the frame... It has of course no relation to the idea of reframing contemporary art. Its notion is one of taking off the frame, and bring art closer to life.
It is a deframing that today principally occurs through street art and outdoor performance art. When we are asked why we wish to deframe contemporary art ? we answer by other questions : why shall we maintain the gap between art and life ? why shall we exclude people from contemporary art ?
Each time a work of art is made for, or presented within the context of the framing art institution, the distance between art and life is maintained. Like a status quo. It is when art leaves the institution to meet life and its people that something happens, that the deframing of art takes place. That moment is a magic one.
To listen to comments from people who have no or little experience of contemporary art, when they encounter it, is not only refreshing, it is invigorating. Whatever the judgement is. This is what deframed art can get to, a real dialogue with life and people as it exists outside of the art institution.
The art institution is of course a physical location, but first of all it is a mindset, a hierarchic way of thinking. Not in relation to aesthetics but in relation to position and power. Just like any old model of a society where the available vehicles are money and power.
If the contemporary art system is framed, our will is to present art as is, as it was when created in the studio unframed, when it did breath. Before it was framed, exposed, bought or sold. We want to give its freshness back, its complex simplicity.
We are also convinced that one of todays most revolutionary and avant-garde actions in contemporary art, is to present art live in public space, deframed. Not to present it in a palazzo or in a museum designed to express prestige and power. To make it confront society and its inhabitants. To see what happens, to explore the differences and similarities, in ideas, judgements, reactions… but also as a way of giving and sharing with those of us that are not used to enter an art gallery or an art centre.
We also believe that art should speak about democracy, but before anything else it should start to speak about itself and its own function as a democratic model. Shall we all support a model that finally represents an old world order of capital and power ? We need to understand the ideological signification of our own actions in sustaining such a system.
We do believe in the freedom of art, not being submitted to any dictatorial calls from whoever makes them. Art is about respect of the other, of our fellow man in all its different aspects. We believe that Infr’Action Venezia, by deframing contemporary art makes a difference.
When Infr’Action Venezia intends to present contemporary art deframed through a series of conscious actions and steps, it is because it wants to eliminate the gap between art and life. For people to experience contemporary art without having it framed, to show how it can exist in public space ; how it can be alive beside us. How it can be shown in a state of pure creation, before being framed, before being associated to the power and money of the rich and powerful, to the 1%. And thus change its contemporary signification.
Art institutions are not used to present or for that matter showcase performance art. When they do present it, it is usually choreographed works, that gives the security of the frame, with works that can assure them of the safety of a declaration of content. And since most art professionals are not aware about the international scene of performance art, they chose the label. Why take any risks ? They need the frame. Because the frame can contain. But also since the frame gives the cultural capital needed to identify a mainstream value. It assures them that what is presented is of quality. Some can’t taste it, some need the label to appreciate.
To deframe contemporary art is not easy, but we do believe that this is the best and also most efficient way to bridge the gap between art and life, and to bring art out there to the general public. And in Venezia to present a model. If Infr’Action Venezia initiates a road into the unknown, it’s because we don’t feel unsafe, we prefer the unknown and the adventure that comes with it. We want to go back to the basics. To the origin, to the moment of creation. Before art enters the value and reward system of the academic and the institutional, the mainstream. We prefer utopa, to reality. And why not ?