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It's Not Personal
Post 60s Body Art and Performance
By: Susan Best
How does something as potent and evocative as the body become a relatively neutral artistic material? From the 1960s, much body art and performance conformed to the anti-expressive ethos of minimalism and conceptualism, whilst still using the compelling human form. But how is this strange mismatch of vigour and impersonality able to transform the body into an expressive medium for visual art?
Focusing on renowned artists such as Lygia Clark, Marina Abramovic and Angelica Mesiti, Susan Best examines how bodies are configured in late modern and contemporary art. She identifies three main ways in which they are used as material and argues that these formulations allow for the exposure of pressing social and psychological issues. In skilfully aligning this new typology for body art and performance with critical theory, she raises questions pertaining to gender, inter-subjectivity, relation and community that continue to dominate both our artistic and cultural conversation.