DRAF Presents an Evening of Performances and the Institute of Asian Performance Art

Posted in Inside Scoop by Aimee Morris on 01st October 2018

This year the overarching theme that ties together the David Roberts Art Foundation’s programme of events and exhibitions is the human condition. Two of the Foundation’s current projects, its annual Evening of Performances and the eleventh edition of its Curators’ Series, feed into this quest to understand what it is that makes us human.


Fatos Üstek. Photo: Josh Meeks-Rayvon Williams, 2016. Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London.


Fatos Üstek, DRAF Director and Rise Art Prize 2018 judge, chose to focus this year’s Evening of Performances on intimacy. Over the course of 5 hours and 16 acts, 9 artists and 30 supporting performers present interpretations of the theme through dance, music, readings, comedy and performance art.


Artist group Charismatic Megafauna. Photograph by Kate Bones, courtesy of DRAF.


Former Tuner Prize nominee Fiona Banner, who was also on the Rise Art Prize 2018 judging panel, stages a “typographical catwalk” that functions as a cross between a runway show and a military march of linguistic components. We’re intrigued…


Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press.


The aim of the event is to delve into what intimacy is, what it means and how it manifests in lived experience. Fatos, who has curated the show, is interested in how the performances can function as a conversation – not just between artist and audience, but also between the multitude of voices on stage.


Das Hund. Photograph courtesy of DRAF.


Fatos explains that the performances engage with the subject of intimacy at a broader, more self-reflexive level too, in that the show foregrounds intimacy as a key to our relationship with art. Experiencing art is an act of intimacy in itself; it’s about establishing a bond, a reciprocal bond, between artwork and viewer. Book free tickets for DRAF’s Evening of Performances on 2nd October here.


Tat n Lyle. Photograph courtesy of DRAF.


Alongside the Evening of Performances, DRAF has also just opened the 11th edition of its Curators’ Series. Each year the Foundation commissions a research-based exhibition, and this time round guest curator Victor Wang has taken the opportunity to launch the Institute of Asian Performance Art (IAPA) - an international network dedicated to deepening the awareness and understanding of the history of early performance art in Japan, Korea, China and Taiwan.


To Add One Meter to an Anonymous Mountain, 1965. Performance by Beijing East Village Artists' Collaboration. Photo: Lii Nan.


Wang, who’s a renowned independent curator based in Shanghai and London, has put together an original exhibition, alongside a programme of classes and performances. The exhibition, based at DRAF’s show space at 111 Great Titchfield Street, London, brings together works from 60s and 70s Japan and Korea.


Nakanishi Natsuyuki, Clothespins Assert Churning Action (street performance for Hi-Red Centre event, 6th Mixer Plan, Tokyo, May 28, 1963). Photo: Hirata Minoru.


On display are sculptures and works on paper by the late Jiro Takamatsu, who was a central figure in the development of avant-garde movements in post-war Japan. The exhibition also documents performances by Hi-Red Centre, a group co-founded by Takamatsu in Tokyo that staged anti-establishment interventions in the urban environment.


Oneness of Brick, 1971 by Jiro Takamatsu.


Alongside photographs of Hi-Red Centre in action are 24 works by Japanese photographer Minoru Hirata, which capture other iconic performances and events that took place in Japan’s public spaces during the 60s and 70s. The exhibition also spotlights Korea’s first avant-garde artist Kim Ku Lim, who produced experimental films as well as performance and land art.


Yamanote Line Festival Documentary Photographs, 1962. Photographs by Tokuji Murai.


For Fatos, the exhibition does more than broaden our awareness of this fascinating era of performance art in the East – it also makes us think about its dialogue with the work being produced by performance artists like Yves Klein, Yoko Ono and Joseph Beuys in the West at the time.

The exhibition is open Wednesday through Saturday (12-6pm) and runs until 28th October. Find out more about the programme here.