Embodied Acts: Live and Alive

Rebecca Baumann | Australia b.1983 | Improvised smoke device 2010 | Five minute performance, 825m3 | coloured smoke, aluminium, foil, wire, black powder, quick match fuse, detonator | Photograph: Bewley Shaylor | Image courtesy: The artist

Embodied Acts is an exciting program of performances, events and actions taking place in and around the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) during ‘Contemporary Australia: Women’.

Involving a diverse group of artists whose practices criss-cross between disciplines and interests, Embodied Acts foregrounds site-specific, performative and ephemeral forms of art.

Each of the artists, in variously humorous, critical, and sensual ways, presents works that offer new vantage points on the familiar worlds we inhabit and negotiate. This focus on the performative seeks to activate visual and auditory senses and shake up taken-for-granted notions about life and art.

Primarily taking place over the opening weekend (Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 April), Embodied Acts will see Rebecca Baumann collaborating with a pyrotechnician to send sheets of candy-coloured smoke high into the sky; ‘Performance Fee’, an endurance event by Brown Council, where you can purchase a kiss from one of the artists for $2; Hayley Forward and Jess Olivieri with the Parachutes for Ladies intervening into the Gallery spaces with sound and movement, working with GOMA’s own Gallery Services Officers and with other staff members on a one-off event that riffs on Busby Berkeley choreography from 1940s musicals; and Soda_Jerk’s multi-channel performance lecture on the temporality of cinema and its relationship to death.

Brown Council | Kelly Doley, Australia b.1984 | Frances Barrett, Australia b.1983 | Kate Blackmore, Australia b.1982 | Diana Smith, Australia b.1981 | Appearing Act (production image) 2011 | Single channel HD video, 16:9, colour, sound, 6:12 mins | Video: William Mansfield | Image courtesy: The artists
Jess Olivieri and Hayley Forward with the Parachutes for Ladies | Jess Olivieri, Australia b.1982 | Hayley Forward, Australia b.1982 | I thought a musical was being made 2010 | Semi-participatory performance and audio guide, Next Wave Festival, Melbourne, 2010 | Image courtesy: The artists | This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.
Soda_Jerk | Dan Angeloro b.1977 and Dominique Angeloro b.1979 | The Carousel 2012 | Performance lecture | Image: Courtesy the artists.

Every night during the exhibition you’ll be able to see a projection on the GOMA glass façade, visible from the Maiwar Green, showing Kate Mitchell swinging from a chandelier; and during July, Lauren Brincat will perform ‘High horse’, a one-off tambourine sound happening, incorporating the video and sculptural objects she has made for the show, in collaboration with percussionist Bree van Reyk.

If you aren’t able to visit the Gallery for the performances, the works are being documented and will have an ongoing presence in the exhibition — as videos, as performance remnants, as YouTube videos or other web resources. This testifies to the continuing relevance of ephemeral work in the contemporary art museum: it appears, disappears, then reappears in various guises.

We would love to see you at the ‘Contemporary Australia: Women’ opening weekend program at GOMA, for more details about the artists and works in the exhibition, check out our website.

Kate Mitchell | Australia b.1982 | Being punctual (still) 2010 | Single-channel HD video projection (looped), 16:9, colour, silent, 38:17 mins | Image courtesy: The artist and Chalkhorse, Sydney | Photographic stills: Christopher Morris
Lauren Brincat | Australia b.1980 | High horse (still, detail) 2012 | Video projection full HD (looped), 16:9, colour, sound, timber framed pyramids, tambourines | Video: Poppy Stockell | Courtesy: The artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery



  2. Hi Graham. The music in the background of our Modern Woman television commercial is The Swan from Carnival of The Animals by Camille Saint-Saens. Regards QAGOMA