The performance Kurt presented at our Samtalekøkkenet in October 2012 can be read as a study in flies and spiders. As you can witness in the video below, Kurt engages in performance art in the most classic sense of the word, placing and exploring his materials with utmost care and attention. Suspense is created by the intricate relations between his calm movements and the carefully chosen objects – small glass bowls and dead insects among them – that he displays in the impressive historical space of Nikolaj Kunsthal in central Copenhagen. If you want to show what performance art looks like to somebody who never heard of it, this video might do the trick.
Two Performances for Children
Kurt proved that his style of performing also works very well for young audiences, when he performed at our Live Art for Kids 2 festivals in Malmö and Landskrona for utterly fascinated kids.
As a way to engage the children in discussions about what they have seen at our festivals, we often ask them to draw the performances. This drawing of one of Kurt’s performances is among our all time favorites.
Kurt’s performances and poems are closely related. His short, haiku-like poems can often be read as instructions for performances. For the Nordic edition of our performance game Playing Up!, he contributed an exercise (Norwegian: Øving) derived from a poem from 1994. The player-performers who want to reenact this work are asked to get a haircut, place the clippings in their shoes and wear them for an entire day.
About the Artist
Kurt Johannessen is a Norwegian performance legend with 30 years of practice. He mostly works in performance and installation art. He also publishes works of poetry and artist’s books. Today he is one of Scandinavia’s major performance artists and is prominent on the international scene. Since the beginning of the 1980s he has produced approximately 160 different works and has had more than 300 presentations all over the world. His work is characterized by a minimalist and poetic presence. In 2007 the Oslo contemporary art centre, Kunstnernes Hus, presented a major retrospective on his work.
More info about Kurt’s manifold projects can be found on his website.