Steve Giasson, Nouvelles Performances invisibles — Didier Morelli, The Artist’s Body, a Camera, and Various Performative Interactions

[Summer 2021]

Par Didier Morelli

“The body art event needs the photograph to confirm its having happened; the photograph needs the body art event as an ontological ‘anchor’ of its indexicality.”
— Amelia Jones
Body Art: Performing the Subject (1998)

#SteveGiasson. You probably know Steve Giasson. You are likely to have seen his actions in print or somewhere online. If you are lucky, you may have witnessed them in person. They often leave a lasting impression even in their simplicity: maintaining a pose during a vernissage, staying close to the ground in a white-walled studio, kissing Daniel Buren’s flags, or being heavy atop a mound of snow. These performances are documented on social media, on Giasson’s personal website, and on certain artist-run-centre portals. They are also hidden in the pages of specialized art magazines and sometimes garner media attention in local newspapers. They are brightly lit on computer screens, tablets, or smartphones. Stopping to consider what Giasson is saying with his body and his carefully chosen context in these events, one is struck by a mix of glee and awe.

In addition to producing remarkable visuals, Giasson’s performances for the camera are a trove of inspiring propositions. He uses the basic score for each action as its title and then spirals out from there with layers of citations. This shrouds the work in references while simultaneously luring audiences into the inner reasoning of his mind. In Berlin, he is pictured being distractedly desperate, tucked under the monumental Marx-Engels forum. In Lac Saint-Jean, he appears watching over nothing, standing atop a lifeguard tower. In Mexico City, he takes on being superfluous, re-enacting Francis Alÿs’s Turista (1994), and in New York at the Dia Art Foundation he is stretching against a work of art with the support of a basalt stone by Joseph Beuys. In all of these interventions, Giasson is playful yet precise, intuitive but calculating, historically savvy while looking toward unknown horizons.

#perfinvisibles. New Invisible Performances was presented by Le Lieu, Centre en art actuel in Quebec City. For Giasson, who started a series of micro-interventions titled Invisible Per­formances in 2015 at Dare-Dare in Montreal, this is an ongoing dialogical process that pairs art history, wordplay, and movement. Each performance is enacted in public or in private and starts from a score, derived from a work of art, so that it stands alone or evokes other minimalist enigmatic gestures…


See the magazine for the complete article and more images: Ciel variable 117 – SHIFTED