Performance Art

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Context and Introduction

Performance art is a very important category in the development of art. With every possible form, it challenges the boundary between artistic expression and social life. Therefore, it is not easy to understand it through media or form. Meanwhile, performance art is particularly significant in Taiwan’s historical context. Having been manipulated and oppressed – both physically and ideologically – by authority for a long period of time, the Taiwanese society is seriously in lack of original and contextual language. Under the state of “being ruled by others,” to describe it more precisely, bodies thus become the first issue for Taiwanese artists to deal with. As a result, various demonstrate of bodies should depend on video as a medium to document and to carry the meaning.

Consequently, performance art – as a context to connect bodies and images – offer a crucial clue to clarify the development of Taiwan’s contemporary art. In Taiwan, however, there is never a specific definition of it. Today, the development of performance art is presented with rich variety and multiplicity. Taiwan’s art in the 1980s, when the Martial Law was lifted, showed the liberation in the cultural, political, and social aspects as well as marked the starting point of today’s contemporary art in Taiwan. Therefore, the 1980s was a significant period of time in history as the point of departure: the end of the authoritarian regime, the globalized economic structure replacing the Cold War structure, and the cultural trend of post-modernism.

Additionally, when we face some historical problems while constructing the database, various considerations will appear within the database itself: to establish the authority of values (credibility), to improve the practicability and re-use rates, to strength the interactive update, to provide cross-index, and to invite participation in the platform of writing. Such a complexity might complicate the process of definition, but it will definitely present a community-based consciousness which is more closely connected.


The Outline of the Database

The first stage mainly focuses on the exploration of aesthetics and art research, which means the definition of the specific field – to define which information should be included. There is no fixed form for most of the performance art works – except that they are directly related to the presence of bodies. Each form depends on the space-time or the context of its presentation. As a result, it will be quite impossible to categorize it on the basis of a linear narrative. Furthermore, contemporary art creates a more a complex linguistic space to criticize itself. No matter whether it is about social issues, community interaction, or instruction in reality, they all create “contemporary art event” in the precarious situation. Therefore, we attempt to divide it into four categories to cover the development of performance art in Taiwan: the first one is the direct artistic presentation of individual artists; the second is the activities organized and initiated by communities; the third is the projects which create a narrative hidden within the reality; the fourth is art festivals which play a major role to support performance art (to bridge it with the public and to create conversation). In other words, performance art in the development of contemporary art is not about its form and media but the concept of behaviors, such as the necessity of the self-behavior, the social quality of the behavior, the communication of the behavior, the ecological style of the behavioral network, and the characteristics of the art community.


Theme The specificity of bodies and environments, creative behaviors, multiple documentation styles (written text, photos, video, objects).
Coverage (1) Artists (Presentation and exhibitions)

(2) Events (Action and participation)

(3) Projects (Plan and participation)

(4) Art Festivals (Plan and development)

Information Mostly written description/artist statement, still images/photos, motion images/video, documents/objects.


Artist List

So far, the information about these five art categories included in the database is merely the preliminary results. The content will be expanded after a longer period of time.

See also

The line between art and life should be kept as fluid, and perhaps indistinct, as possible_ Allen Kaprow Performance is a genre in which art is presented "live," usually by the artist but sometimes with collaborators or performers. It has had a role in avant-garde art throughout the 20th century, playing an important part in anarchic movements such as Futurism and Dada.

The most significant flourishing of performance art took place following the decline of modernism and Abstract Expressionism in the 1960s, and it found exponents across the world. Performance art of this period was particularly focused on the body, and is often referred to as Body art. This reflects the period's so-called "dematerialization of the art object," and the flight from traditional media. It also reflects the political ferment of the time: the rise of feminism, which encouraged thought about the division between the personal and political and anti-war activism, which supplied models for politicized art "actions."

In art, performance art is a performance presented to an audience, traditionally interdisciplinary. Performance may be either scripted or unscripted, random or carefully orchestrated; spontaneous or otherwise carefully planned with or without audience participation. The performance can be live or via media; the performer can be present or absent. It can be any situation that involves four basic elements: time, space, the performer's body, or presence in a medium, and a relationship between performer and audience. Performance art can happen anywhere, in any venue or setting and for any length of time. The actions of an individual or a group at a particular place and in a particular time constitute the work. Visual arts, performing arts, and art performance.

Performance art is an essentially contested concept: any single definition of it implies the recognition of rival uses. As concepts like "democracy" or "art", it implies productive disagreement with itself.

Traditional Chinese version

行為藝術