Defacement – performativity and novel meanings Cover Image

Defacement – performativity and novel meanings
Defacement – performativity and novel meanings

Author(s): Anna Szyjkowska-Piotrowska
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts
Published by: Łódzkie Towarzystwo Naukowe
Keywords: defacement; ritual; performance; desemantization; profanation; face; body

Summary/Abstract: Despite its connection with ancient rituals, performance art tends to be seen as a controversial novelty. The paper focuses on the artistic understanding of performance, questioning its reality-changing quality. Referring to Erika Fischer-Lichte, I suggest an examination of the impact of performance art on culture, using the terms derived from the theory of rites of passage – liminality and passage. One of the characteristics of performance is the blurring of dichotomies by minimizing not only gender oppositions, but also other dualisms existing in culture. Thus, the analysis of blurred dichotomies in contemporary art is made on the example of the face-body relation. The division between face and body – where the former stands for the spiritual, cultural, and human, and the latter stands for the animalistic and natural – is contested in most actions of performance art. I aim to show that annihilating face in artistic practices by reintegrating it into the body is both part of the desemantization processes in performance art and may constitute a way of generating new meanings obtained by way of profanation and desacralization. Defacement may be perceived as a philosophical tool of art.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 14
  • Page Range: 43-52
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: English