Performance Art as a Life Choice of Artists Eva & Adele
Contemporary Art Berlin in me Collectors Room
The art exhibition of artistic duo Eva + Adele took a place at me Collectors Room Berlin in August 2018. Eva + Adele are a couple who present their life as work of art. They have been together for nearly 30 years. They both dress identically in self made dresses, put on identical make – up, and shave their heads. To put it simply Eva + Adele see themselves as two parts of one human being, and this human being is exhibited as a work of art. The art is an integral part of their everyday life which leads another important question- where is the border between art and life, between art and artist? There is no separation between private life and artwork in the following artworks- Manzoni´s Feaces, 1961, Timm Ulrichs, Selbstausstelung, 1961, Janis Koullenis, Twelve Live Horses, 1969 or Tehching Hsieh, Time Clock Piece, 1982.
Further in the art article I would like to introduce how I perceive Contemporary Art. Firstly let me emphasise that I am not willing to put any time frame on the definition of the word contemporary. For me the word contemporary means in my productive lifetime, but it does not mean that everything created within my lifetime is Contemporary Art. It is a sliding time frame which can be observed across all centuries. For example Mozart was viewed to be a very edgy musician by his contemporaries, but to us he represents classical music. To make it easier for myself I have a list of several conditions that helps me to determine whether or not artwork belongs to Contemporary Art.
The first condition is a subject matter of an artwork. The subject matter describes the artwork, the concept behind the artwork and how does it fit into a context of today´s society. It should be something that reflects upon current issues in our society. The second condition is an actual criticism of the issues because the criticism is necessary for development in any area. It should be a crucial part of the artwork. The third condition is how the criticism is conducted. What kind of medium was used to execute the criticism? How does it communicate the criticism to the audience? For example, the 18th Century paintings criticised a deteriorating social structure of their time. The maids were trying to achieve the status of nobility by dressing like ladies, e.g. The Chocolate Girl by Liotard in 1795. It was something outrageous at that time, but it is irrelevant today. The question regarding how the criticism is conducted opens up a wide range of approaches, and I usually focus my attention on durational pieces and pieces that reflect an artist´s direct experience.
All three conditions are well mirrored in the artwork of artistic duo Eva + Adele who have had recently an exhibition in me Collector´s Room in Berlin.
The life long practice, the artists’ conscious decision to eliminate the border separating art and life, and the reflection of current challenges in regards to gender identity are the main reasons why I see Eva + Adele´s artwork to be the outstanding example of Contemporary Art.