Roi Vaara

Works for Live Art Danmark
2015 “Wet Paint Handshake” and group performance with Black Market International
2021 “Grounding” as a performance recipe in “Playing up – the Nordic Expansion Pack”
2023 “Grounding” as a live performance for Life Art for Children 2023.

Wet Paint Handshake
At our festival Kulstof 15 Roi presented his performance “Wet Paint Handshake”. Standing in the entrance area of the venue of the festival, Nordkraft in Aalborg/Denmark, dressed in formal black suit and bow tie, he extends his right hand, offering handshakes to the audience as they arrive. Only, between handshakes, he dips his right hand into a bucket of white paint, challenging the audience to accept the mess with the handshake, while his nice suit gradually gets  painted white.

Black Market International
Roi also performed with the legendary performance association Black Market International. A movie about the festival with long excerpts from this exceptional group performance and statements from the performers can be seen here.

In the “Nordic Expansion Pack” of our performance game  “Playing up”, we featured Roi’s work “Grounding”. Participants are asked to reenact Roi’s famous performance, where he creates an experimental guitar solo or infernal noise – depending on who’s listening –  by dragging an electric guitar connected to an amplifier face down around in the streets.

Grounding Live!
When we made sound the main subject for our Live Art for Kids festival in 2023, we knew we had to bring Roi to Copenhagen, and invite him to perform is legendary piece “Grounding” live himself. In Copenhagens iconic Meat Packing district, he dragged his guitar from Uncle Dennys Plads right to the front door of Sort/Hvid, our collaborator and the venue of the festival. Stunned audiences and passers by witnessed the strings of Roi’s guitar picking up the spirit of the location directly from the dirty, bloody cobblestones of the narrow streets where countless animals walked their last walk in former days, and countless party people frolic today, transforming his walk into an infernal guitar solo.

About the Artist
Roi is one of the most internationally recognized performance artists in Scandinavia. He was born in 1953 in Moss (Norway), but grew up in Helsinki, Finland, where he has caused constant controversy in the art world since the early 80s. His critical point of view is not to attract public sensation but to challenge the way we look at things. Roi has made performance art since 1982 and since 1988 participated in performances with Black Market International (BMI), whose works explore performance art as a simultaneous form of communication.

He is one of the founders of Muu ry (1987), an artist-run interdisciplinary association in Finland and one of the founders of IAPAO (International Association of Performance Art Organizers). Vaara has organized and curated numerous performance events.

The European Live Art Archive has a biography and a video interview of Roi Vaara (the video requires Flash).

Om liveart_dk was founded in 2004 in Copenhagen to promote the discussion, documentation and development of live art in Denmark. The organisation is equally inspired by the imaginative and entertaining English Live Art tradition as by the theoretical and political German theatre tradition. We have organised 10 large international festivals of Live Art for kids and adults since 2004, and over 40 discussion events, books, video series, symposia and more in the field of live art, performance art, art criticism and documentation. We collaborate with theatres, music venues, art museums and festivals in Denmark and internationally.