Performance Art, artists and art
(technique, late 1950's)
Body art, performance, "Aktionism", Happenings: these are all names for the many late 20th century art forms that have used the artist's own body as the subject and object of the artwork itself. Whether acting out the gestures of painting (Jackson Pollock, Yves Klein, the Gutai group); voguing for the camera (Hannah Wilke, Mariko Mori); subjecting oneself to acts of violence (Chris Burden, Gunter Brus, Gina Pane); displaying acts of athletic prowess and courage (Matthew Barney, Marina Abramovic); or even masturbating under the gallery floor (Vito Acconci), artists since the late 1950s have increasingly used their bodies to subvert, shock and politicise contemporary art.
Marina Abramovic: "To be a performance artist, you have to hate theatre. Theatre is fake… The knife is not real, the blood is not real, and the emotions are not real. Performance is just the opposite: the knife is real, the blood is real, and the emotions are real."