Performance Art Recipes

Live Art Denmark has long been interested in recipes or instructions written by artists in order for others to perform their works. They can be compared to notes or manuscripts, with both the score and its interpretation seen as independent art works.

In works like VIRAK revyen and Playing Up, we have rewritten historical works by for example Kirsten Justesen and Jessie Kleemann to recipes of how to perform their works at home. We have also performed existing scores by Yoko Ono, Alison Knowles and others.

Since 2019, we have invited international artists to Denmark in order for them to create new recipes. The recipes are tested and developed together with Copenhagen Contemporary (CC Studio) and through them with schools and institutions. The aim is to develop new and original ideas for the inclusion of performance art works in art institutions.

In 2019 and 2020 the artists below visited us, and they also presented their own works and participated in talks:

Johannes Zits (CA), Fatric Bewong (NI), Sybille Müller (CA)+ Eva Meyer-Keller (DE), Lone Twin (UK), Rachael Clerke (UK), Miao Jiaxin (CH/US), Taiwo Aiyedogbon (NI), Adam James (UK) and Francis Brady Patrick (UK/SE)

image: Fatric Bewong, the Visitation of Asaase Yaa

The recipe format had its heyday in the Fluxus movement during the 1960s, with artists such as Yoko Ono, Erik Andersen and many others publishing numerous event scores. Other examples can be found throughout modern art history. The 1930 Futurist Cookbook contains recipes for foodworks that can be considered performances. We recreated one of them at Live Art for Kids 2018 at Brandts:

Vittorio Osvaldo Tommasini (IT)

Marcel Duchamp was perhaps the first artist to write a recipe for an art work: In 1919, Marcel Duchamp sent instructionsfrom Buenos Aires to his sister as a present. Suzanne Duchamp wasasked to source a geometry textbook and suspend it by strings from her balconyoverlooking Rue la Condamine in Paris: “The wind has to go through the book, choose its own problems, turn and tear the pages”.

We recreated his Sculpture Musicale 2018 in Rio de Janiero. A video of the resulting participatory performance can be seen here.

We have worked with the characteristics of games in several projects. This applies both to our own works and works we curated. The four games that Hue/Boy developed for Horsens Prison in the context of our Horsens Happening provide a good example. They developed a Live Action Role Play (LARP)  which invited visitors to experience the former prison through stories and games.

Hue/Boy (DE)

Performance Recipies as Documentation
The recipe format can also be considered as a form of documentation of performances. Even before the recipe project, Live Art Denmark has been interested in the documentation of performance art, exploring various media such as video, photos, critical writing, children’s drawings and most recently virtual reality. In our work with documentation, our main focus is on techniques to maintain or recreate works in ways that conserve the special magic of the living moment.