An annual long durational performance
Commissioned by 32º Festival de Arte de Porto Alegre
Porto Alegre, Brazil
October 18-19, 2018
Images by Filipe Conde
Beginning with his early works, Fyodor Pavlov-Andreevich explores the distance that separates the spectator from the object in live art. The very first such experience was part of ‘Marina Abramovic Presents’ in Manchester, 2009, where Andreevich presented a 21-day-long work, entitled ‘My Mouth Is a Temple’ (curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Maria Balshaw).
Fyodor continues to diminish this distance and formulate a relationship between the audience and the artist's body with his new work, ‘The 42 Cards,’ yet another long-durational live piece. His body turns into an object of common access, an instrument that plays with human energies, intentions and intensity, capable of receiving desire, sadness, thoughts and instincts, and this body is totally exposed to whatever comes its way from the end of the spectators.
The 42 Cards is an annual piece whose title is tied to the artist’s physical age (in 2019, it will be named The 43 Cards). The audience is invited to receive a card with instructions on what to do to with the artist’s body and how to treat it. From an unambiguous ‘Please slap me on the cheek’ to a more abstract ‘Please do something nice to me,’ audience members have to queue with their arms crossed over their chest while waiting for their turn to interact with the artist.
Following the historical traditions of Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono, and (among more contemporary artists) Zackary Drucker, the artist’s body is placed on a pedestal located on a theatrical stage, so the visitors watch others interact with the artist’s body while queuing. Just before ascending to the stage, each visitor is invited to wash their hands using an authentic Soviet hand-washing device, a washstand, alongside a bar of real old Soviet soap and a so-called ‘waffle’ towel. Then they climb up to the stage and follow their card’s instructions. Once finished, they have to chose: stay seated on stage and watch the next visitors interact with the body, return to the auditorium and take a seat there to continue watching this non-theatrical action, or leave the theatre.
The artist’s body is capable of receiving up to 500 people over each day’s performance duration of 5 hours. Visitors are offered an experience of a human body that is no longer individual, experiencing alienation of the body as a result.