VestAndPage

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Movie poster of sin∞fin - Performances at the End of the World, A VestAndPage production, Chile/Italy 2010

VestAndPage is an artist duo founded in 2006 by Verena Stenke (Germany) and Andrea Pagnes (Italy), working in contemporary performance art, visual art, and film. Their work is positioned within the social, political and environmental context of spherology, fragility, memory activation and communication, with a strong influence of the artists’ backgrounds in philosophy and theatre.[1] They present meditative and ritualistic performances that challenge impermanence, transformation and self-awareness.[2] Over the past years they have presented their work extensively in Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Australia. An untitled controversial work presented in Singapore in 2011, involves the couple drinking Pagnes' blood. The artist stated in an interview that blood is "the purest part of me", and that "I am using drops of my soul to say something."[3]

Life and education[edit]

Verena Stenke (born 1981, Bad Friedrichshall, Germany) is trained in theatre, martial arts, contemporary dance, and holds qualifications as special effects make-up artist and mask maker. She studied Oriental and Social Theatre. She lived in Berlin, and moved to Florence in 2006.

Andrea Pagnes (born 1962, Venice) holds degrees in Modern Literature and Philosophy, certificates of high studies in Museology, Art critic, and Creative writing, and obtained the diploma of Social Theatre actor and operator. He has been working as independent curator, writer, painter, and glass sculptor. He founded cultural magazines, and has been artistic director of a Murano glass factory. He has translated among others Jurassic Park[4] into Italian, and lived in Venice and Florence.

Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes are married, and currently living in Baden-Württemberg, Germany and Venice.[5]

Major works and projects[edit]

Film[edit]

sin∞fin The Movie[edit]

Verena Stenke and Andrea Pagnes in "sin∞fin - Performances at the End of the World", 2010

Between 2010 and 2012, VestAndPage produced the experimental film trilogy sin∞fin The Movie in Antarctica, India, Kashmir, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, combining performance art with filmmaking.[6] Teetering between the real and the visionary, the films feature the two protagonists undertaking surreal and ephemeral acts. Amplified by the unfamiliar environments, the performances reflect on universal human experiences such as altruism, partnership and the transient nature of existence. The first episode "Performances at the End of the World", thematically focuses on the intimate, inner domain of the individual and the couple. The second episode "Performances at the Holy Centre" highlights the topic of society and religion. The concluding episode "Performances at the Core of the Looking-Glass", engages with narratives on nature and the universe.[7] The first episode has been produced at artist-in-residence at CONFL!CTA Contemporary Art and Science Research, Punta Arenas and Tierra del Fuego in December 2010. The second episode has been realized during the artist-in-residence at The Sarai Programme at CSDS, New Delhi, in March/April 2011.[8] The third episode has been produced as part of the cultural program of the National Antarctic Direction, Argentina, on the Antarctic stations Carlini and Esperanza Base in January and February 2012.[9] [10]

Long durational performances[edit]

Andrea Pagnes in the dog crate. Photograph by Simone Donati.

Fear vs Love vs Fear[edit]

The 24-hour performance Fear vs Love vs Fear was presented as part of the curatorial project Proyecto Liquido by Alumnos47 Foundation, June 2012. The artists inhabited an empty house in San Miguel Chapultepec, Mexico City and performed inside for 24 hours, with the public free to enter and exit at any time. The body-based actions explored origins and effects of love and fear, being individual or collective, and works on memory associations.[11] In preparation to the live performance, Stenke and Pagnes had previously worked with a group of street girls in Mexico City to understand their fears, desires, and dreams. The text, image and video material produced by the girls during this workshop became part of the performance installation in the house.[12] [13]

Without Tuition or Restraint[edit]

Without Tuition or Restraint is a long durational performance of five days and four nights. It took place at The Exchange and Newlyn Gallery in Penzance, as part of the exhibition Performance Transition in November 2011. The couple has been closed inside and didn’t exit the gallery for five days and four nights consecutively. During this period Andrea Pagnes lived inside a dog crate, while Verena Stenke inside the gallery space executed one repetitive action each day. The performance questions concepts of freedom, and limits between private and social spheres.[14]

Speak That I Can See You[edit]

Speak That I Can See You is the first performance of Stenke's and Pagnes' debut as VestAndPage. The interactive piece won the ArtKontakt Prize (Tirana) in 2007. Since then the performance has been presented on several occasions, among others at the Kosovo Art Gallery, Pristina (2007); Fondaco dell’Arte, Venice (2009); XIV Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, Skopje (2009); Fábrica de Braço de Prata, Lisbon (2010); PingPong Artspace, Taipei (2012); London Art Fair, London (2014). In the installation set of medical surgery videos and a soundtrack of voices speaking about fear in three languages, Stenke invites audience members to participate in a ritual. Pagnes' back is offered as a living canvas for the audience to express their thoughts by writing with effect powder, water, and feathers or nails on his skin.[15]

Performance cycles[edit]

Thou Twin of Slumber Cycle[edit]

Thou Twin of Slumber is a performance cycle in eight parts. It has been produced and presented through the year 2013 at Cyclorama – Boston Centre for the Arts, Boston;[16] Kasteliotissa, Nicosia; Grace Exhibition Space, New York City; Defibrillator Gallery, Chicago; VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver; Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City;[17] and Taidehalli, Helsinki.[18] The work looks into death, sleep and slumber through liminal spaces, and is theoretically inspired by two figures of Greek mythology, the twin brothers Thanatos and Hypnos. In the performances of this cycle, Pagnes repeatedly works on broken glass and mirror pieces, while Stenke decontextualizes movement.[19]

Panta Rhei Cycle[edit]

Panta Rhei is a performance cycle in six parts, presented 2011-2012 on tour in Asia at Taipei Artist Village, Taipei; Seoul Art Space, Seoul; CCCD Centre for Community Culture Development, Hong Kong; Goodman Arts Centre, Singapore; Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai. It is a project inquiring impermanent states of transformation in systems and history, and the constant change and temporary nature of thoughts, body and relations. The artists follow a process-led and responsive practice in these performances that don’t follow any dramaturgy but are mainly subdue to improvisation.[20]

Balada Corporal, Homero Massena Gallery, Vitoria, Brazil, 2010. Photograph by Sergio Prucoli.

Balada Corporal Cycle[edit]

Balada Corporal is a performance cycle in five parts, presented in the year 2010 on a tour in South America. Venues included the Universidad Nacional Experimental de las Artes, Caracas; University of Chile, Santiago de Chile; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Valdivia; CCEBA Centro Cultural de España, Buenos Aires; Homero Massena Gallery, Vitória. The cycle speaks about the difficulties of real encounters between humans, and the possibilities of transformation through concrete communication. It is composed of four live performances, and includes a fifth chapter that continues to remain conceptual as it consists of transplanting pieces of tattooed skin between the couple. [21]

Curatorial projects[edit]

Venice International Performance Art Week[edit]

VestAndPage are the curatorial force behind the a live art exhibition project Venice International Performance Art Week. The project took place at Palazzo Bembo, Venice, in December 2012, featuring under the title "Hybrid Body - Poetic Body" among others works by Yoko Ono, Valie Export, Hermann Nitsch, Ilija Šoškić, Jan Fabre, Lee Wen, Boris Nieslony, Jill Orr, and a number of international emerging and established artists such as Nelda Ramos, Manuel Vason, Jason Lim, Gonzalo Rabanal, Prem Sarjo, Joseph Ravens, Helena Goldwater. In 2014, the project continued under the focus "Ritual Body - Political Body", at Palazzo Mora in Venice, presenting live and in exhibition performance works by Joseph Beuys, Allen Ginsberg, Vito Acconci, Tehching Hsieh, Chris Burden, Terry Fox (artist), Zhang Huan, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Alastair MacLennan, Carolee Schneemann, Ulay, Tania Bruguera, Regina José Galindo, Adina Bar-On, and others.[22] [23] [24] [25]

Making Up – Tearing Down[edit]

The performance section curated by VestAndPage had been presented in various venues in Prague in October 2011. The curatorial line concentrated on radical transparency and eco-intelligence in contemporary performance art, presenting performances by seven female artists.[26]

FRAGILE global performance chain journey[edit]

In 2010, VestAndPage began a project called FRAGILE global performance chain journey, a global art initiative with over 750 artists from 63 countries working together travel one fragile object one time around the globe.[27] The visionary project demands patience and collaboration, reflecting on fragile states, social responsibility, and connection between people.

Bibliography[edit]

Works by Andrea Pagnes[edit]

Theoretical essays and prose works in English language:

Critical and academic studies[edit]

  • Fundación Alumnos47, Proyecto Liquido: Miedo. Mexico City/Madrid: Turner Libros, 2013. ISBN 978-84-15832-65-2
  • Yelena Guzman and Matvei Yankelevich, Emergency INDEX Volume 2. New York: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013. pp. 490–491. ISBN 978-1-937027-12-4
  • Johnny Amore, Performers. Pori: Pori Art Museum Publications, 2013. p. 61. ISBN 978-952-5648-40-9
  • Karlyn De Jongh and Sarah Gold, Personal Structures Time - Space - Existence, Number Two. pp. 288–291. Venice: Global Art Affairs Publishing, 2013. ISBN 978-9490784133
  • Peta Tait. "Performance Couplings". Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, Vol. 18, Issue2, 2013. Special Issue: On Value. pp. 139–140. ISSN 1352-8165 (Print), ISSN 1469-9990 (Online)
  • Yelena Guzman and Matvei Yankelevich, Emergency INDEX Volume 1. New York: Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011. pp. 216–217. ISBN 978-1-937027-07-0
  • Books LLC, European Artist Groups and Collectives: Mánes Union of Fine Arts. General Book, 2010. ISBN 115-67-5396-1
  • Saverio Simi De Burgis and Dana Altman, "Andrea Pagnes and Verena Stenke". FLASH ART International, Vol. XLII, n° 266, May–June 2009. pp. 62–63. ISSN 0394-1493
  • Carlos Leal, "Past Is Not Alone". emagazine Art beyond aesthetics. Issue n° 3, August 2009. pp. 119–120.
  • BJCEM XIV. Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean, SKOPJE 7 gates Biennial 2009. Milan: Mondadori Electa, 2009. ISBN 978-88-370-7167-7
  • Macy Art Gallery, Visions in New York City. Exhibition catalogue. New York: Teachers College Columbia University, 2009
  • Dana Altman, Art and Multiplicity - Essays on Contemporary Art. New York: Amadeo Press, 2008; (1st ed.); Timisoara: Bastion, 2008. ISBN 978-973-1980-30-0
  • Suzana Varvarica Kuka, Conformism Space - Muliqi Prize '07. Pristine: The Kosovo Art Gallery, 2007.
  • Christopher, Marquis, Who’s Who in American Art 2007-2008. New York: Marquis Who’s Who, 2006. ISBN 0837-9630-60
  • Istituto Italiano di Cultura, P.S.I. Italian Bureau selections 1998-2000. New York: Castelvecchi, 2000. ISBN 88-8210-194-0
  • "Une exploration attentive de la poésie de la matière". Flux News, Liége. October 1999
  • The Architects’ Journal, Volume 2008. London: Architectural Press, 1998
  • La Biennale di Venezia. XLVII Esposizione Internazionale D'Arte. Venice: La Biennale di Venezia, 1997. ISBN 8843561529.
  • G. K. Hall, Library Catalog of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Supplement, Volume 3. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]. Abrebrecha 2010. “Pagnes y Stenke presentes en el Quinto Encuentro Mundial de Arte Corporal”.
  2. ^ [2]. Quinn Dukes (2011-04-07) Artistslist. “Top 5 Contemporary Performance Artists to watch”
  3. ^ [3]. Adeline Chia (2011-11-09) The Straits Times. “Artist drinks his blood”
  4. ^ [4].
  5. ^ [5]. Alexis Avedisian (2013-04-18) Big Red & Shiny. “The Higher State: An Interview with VestAndPage”
  6. ^ [6]. London City Nights (2013-09-07) “sin∞fin The Movie by VestAndPage at performancespace“.
  7. ^ [7]. Martin Freeman (2014-10-01) The Plymouth Herald. “To ends of world with art duo VestAndPage”
  8. ^ [8] "NowDelhi.tv" (2011) "Open Minds"
  9. ^ [9]. Raul Manrupe, (2012-04-10) Proyecto Antartida, Centro Cultural Ricardo Rojas.
  10. ^ [10]). CCEBA Centro Cultural de Espana.
  11. ^ [11]. Once Noticias, (2012-06-19).“El miedo, eje tematico de Proyecto Liquid”.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2014. . Alexis Avedisian (2013-04-18) Big Red & Shiny. “The Higher State: An Interview with VestAndPage”
  13. ^ [12]. Fear is Fear. Love is Love. Story of a street children workshop and art project in Mexico City
  14. ^ [13]. Stefan Maurer (2011-11) Heilbronner Stimme. “Freiheit oder Unfreiheit, das ist hier die Frage”
  15. ^ [14]. Dana Altman, Art and Multiplicity / Mediul Virtual. “Andrea Pagnes & Verena Stenke: Speak That I Can See You”. New York/Bucharest, 2008.
  16. ^ [15]). Allison Vanouse (2013-05-14) HowlRound. “Exist Stronger”
  17. ^ [16]). Sonia Avila (2013-10-17) Excelsior: pp.10. “Performance recrea el Museo del Chopo”
  18. ^ [17]). Oscar Cid de Leon (2013-10-18) Reforma. “Exploran fragilidad del ser”
  19. ^ [18]). A. Meier (2013-07-30) Hyperallergic. “Walking on Mirrors Until You Bleed and Other Images from a Performance of Poetic Pain”
  20. ^ [19]. Enru Lin (2012-09-07) The China Post. “Explore what’s humanly possible”
  21. ^ [20]. Soledad Sánchez Goldar (2011-02) Hipermedulla. “Dossier especial: Performance y Tatuajes (I)”
  22. ^ [21]. A.E.Zimmer (2013-02-19) PERFORMA Magazine. “Venice International Performance Art Week”
  23. ^ [22]). Flash Art, Issue 307: pp.30. December–January 2013. “Una settimana di performance in laguna”
  24. ^ [23]. T. Ma. (2012-12-18) Il Manifesto. “La militanza? E tattile e fisica”
  25. ^ [24]. Chiara Casarin (2012-12-08) Artribune. “Da Yoko Ono a Hermann Nitsch, a Jan Fabre. Qualcuno la chiama la piu grande mostra-evento di performance art al mondo.”
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved February 10, 2014. . Guest Writer (2011-10-21) Czech Position. “Cutting-edge continues at Prague’s Tina B. Festival”
  27. ^ [25] Correspondent (2010-08-01). "Artbeat". The Sunday Guardian: pp. 23. "Artists form a unique chain of creativity".

External links[edit]