Minimal/Poor/Present @ Pearce Institute

For one evening, pioneering 81-year-old Spanish artist Esther Ferrer performed alongside emerging Scottish-based artists

Review by Hannah James | 01 Jun 2018
  • Esther Ferrer

Minimal/Poor/Present is an evening of performances developed in response to the practice of Esther Ferrer, a Spanish performance art pioneer whose work is grounded in politics, feminism and protest.

Ferrer’s performance inhabits a white square on the floor in which she carefully traces lines with her feet. She interrupts her movements by asking questions of the audience and hitting a stick loudly on the floor. What begins as a calm and poised performance grows into a powerful commandeering of space and attention.

Louise Ahl and Fritz Welch move around the space independently yet connected to one another: both absorbed and absorbing in their own logics. Welch engages more with object constellations and sound making while Ahl enacts an animalistic and primal mode. Together they create a kind of cosmos in which different forms of experimentation and play become transformative, magical even.

Jessica Higgins’ performance focuses on language: the slippages and misunderstandings that can ensue. Four performers weave their way around the crowd while repeating the same text, resulting in a coalescing and linguistic jarring. The multiplicity of words and their meanings then become affected onto the audience as we too become enwrapped.

Sandra Johnston creates a tableau of domestic objects within which she performs a series of actions. These interactions demand the physical limits of both her body and the objects. Often involving balance, weight and duration, the atmosphere within the room grows tenser as Johnston exploits further the vulnerability of her body.

In all of the performances repetition pushes meaning and sense to their limits, making way instead for a new non-normative way of being. Misappropriation and mistranslation produce a resourceful and fertile ground from which a schism is opened, revealing the potential of a more radical approach to daily interactions.

Run ended