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Thursday, June 6, 2013


Boundaries of both audiences and performers are extended with the Performance Art offering from the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown.

In a performance cycle entitled Anthea Moys vs. The City of Grahamstown, the (first ever) Standard Bank Young Artist for Performance Art, Anthea Moys, will compete against the people of Grahamstown in a tournament of skill, strength, and artistry. Over a series of seven contests over seven days, outnumbered and outclassed, Moys will single-handedly do battle against Grahamstown’s best teams: its athletes, its artists and its intellects ... Moys has spent three months prior to the Festival learning the skills she will need, from the teams and cultural groups against which she will be competing, and these contests will be documented in a living exhibition that will grow and evolve over the course of the Festival, as the documentation for each of the performances is installed in the Monument Gallery.

Swiss artist/performer Yann Marussich is a unique character of the contemporary dance genre, and delivers performances which have a striking impact on the audience. Disturbing, provocative and authentic, his performances and choreography have been staged across Europe and other parts of the world since 1989. In Bleu Remix, Marussich, returns to the theme he explored in 2001 in the Bleu Provisoire creation, when he let a mysterious blue liquid ooze as blood would, through the layers of his skin, as though it was a final effect or a by-product of his body’s inner processes. Each time Bleu Remix has been performed, a different musician has accompanied Marussich. The spontaneous meeting of two artists brings further elements of risk and uniqueness to the event, as the music explores the creation over and over again and depicts new ways of perception. In Bain Brisé, Marussich is covered under a mountain of glass shards in a bathtub from which he slowly emerges over the course of 90 minutes. The initial sense of danger is interfered by the astonishing aesthetic realm of the work ...  the crystal-like reflection of the glass in the light, and its reflection on the wall, and the slow and gracious movements of the body.

Since the introduction of the Standard Bank Ovation Award in 2010, Gavin Krastin has won a Standard Bank Ovation Award each year for his off-the-wall creative interventions in public spaces, and for his work as a newly emerging performance artist. Half performance and half social experiment, his 2013 offering - Rough Musick - interrogates the hierarchical social dynamics imbued in archaic shaming rituals and explores the emotional effect of shame when it is used as a means to control and cohere. Through Krastin’s striking theatricality and characteristic heightening of the visual image, the pre-Empire white culture of the United Kingdom is rendered exotic and strange, positioning the artist-of-European-descent as the ‘primitive’ and ethnically-other. Set in the dank stone confines of the St Andrew’s College old changing rooms, spectators of this ritual are invited to become agents of shame and explore their own dark desire to ridicule, humiliate and judge this performer-other.

Francisco López is internationally recognized as one of the major figures of the sound art and experimental music scene, and collaborates on Untitled #310 with musicians Jill Richards, Waldo Alexander, Magda de Vries, Reza Khota, Marcus Wyatt and Siya Makuzeni. His work is primarily based on original field recordings as source material for the creation and generation of immersive virtual sonic worlds, and for more than thirty years he has developed an astonishing sonic universe, absolutely personal and iconoclastic, based on a profound listening of the world. His unorthodox composition strategy consists of having the musicians blindfolded, thus replacing both scores and visual cues with aural cues that the performers have to carefully listen to within the music textures as they perform the piece. This new composition by López for this blindfolded ensemble of South African musicians has been developed and composed in South Africa.

The 39th edition of the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown will take place from June 27 to July 7 2013.

The National Arts Festival is sponsored by Standard Bank, The National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund, Eastern Cape Government, Department of Arts and Culture, National Arts Council, City Press and M Net.

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