Over two sessions this workshop looks at secular ritual in contemporary life and its relation to acting and performance art. Participants are asked to single out elements of ritual that lie hidden in ordinary, everyday customs and behaviour. A separate task will entail creating new rites, either ironically or seriously. Practical exercises involve performing symbolic actions, both traditional and absurd, and participants are invited to come up with proposals, improvisations and actions related to the theme.
Approximate duration - three hours each day.
Olga Grotova is an artist and curator based in London. Her practice is influenced by digital media, simulation and classic literature. In her work she explores possible realities through storytelling of fictionalised events, staged interventions and constructed narratives.
As a curator, Olga has worked at Baibakov Art Projects in Moscow and the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev. She currently works in the London headquarters of one of the leading Russian foundations for contemporary art, the Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture. Along with her thorough and up-to-date knowledge of contemporary art from Eastern Europe and Russia, she is intimately familiar with the work of leading performance artist Elena Kovylina.
She leads this class according to Elena Kovylina's instructions, with the artist in attendance as a visitor to the class.
Elena Kovylina (b.1971, Moscow)
Elena Kovylina's confrontational performances are as challenging and incendiary as the social problems they address. State propaganda and the oppression of the press, the West's relationship with the former Soviet Bloc, the exploitation of women - these are among the problems for contemporary Russia that her performances focus on, and with which she forces her audiences to engage. The commodification and selling of women's bodies has been a key concern for the artist, fuelling savagely satirical performances in which she has eroticised and abused her body. While Kovylina's work has drawn on the legacy of 1960s and '70s female performance artists such as Yoko Ono and Marina Abramovic, in her performance work she has tried to articulate and hone a strategy for feminist politics that can be made viable today. In 2002 she founded the Theatre of Homeless Youth, where she directed experimental storytelling plays with street children. At last year's Moscow Biennale she carried out a nine-day performance in which she tested some practical techniques aimed at achieving immortality.