Vanessa Beecroft: Performances 1993-2003

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9788884915726: Vanessa Beecroft: Performances 1993-2003

Inventor of a unique artistic language in her performance pieces, the Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft directly addresses themes central to contemporary culture everywhere: identity, multiplicity, the body and sexuality, and in the process, mixes glamour with the history of art. Known for pieces during which multiple, beautiful models stage a ritual of being and appearing, mostly in the nude, Beecroft involves the audience in a direct confrontation, pushing to the limit the tension of a happening that is simultaneously unique, real and abstract.

This book is the catalog of the Fall 2003 exhibition at Castello di Rivoli in Turin and is the most complete publication of the artist's work to date and includes critical text as well as a detailed biography and bibliography. This major retrospective of the artist will present an original interpretation of her work, and will feature a new large-scale performance along with photographic and video works.

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About the Author:

Vanessa Beecroft has presented her performances and work in numerous museums and galleries worldwide including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna.

Marcella Beccaria is an expert on international contemporary art and curator at the Castello di Rivoli.

From Publishers Weekly:

As a subject for art, the female body still, after all these thousands of years, has the power to shock and subvert, no less so in the hands of Italian artist Beecroft, who uses women themselves as her medium. This 9"11" catalogue, which includes a huge foldout dust jacket, covers the retrospective of Beecroft's work at Turin's Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, documenting 52 of Beecroft's "performances," which involve dressing (or undressing), coiffing, painting and arranging groups of real-live "girls" (as Beecroft consistently, and rather disturbingly, refers to her most often 20-something models) with generous references to classical art, films and history. While many of the 300 color and b&w photos show cadres of nude blondes with severe makeup in near-militaristic formations and poses, the performances, Beecroft writes, depend on the almost entropic breakdown of discipline of the models: "A constant element of the performances is to start from a drawing of a precise concept and move towards the loss of order and the beginning of chaos.... The girls need to interpret the rules, making them their own, updating them every time a performance takes place." Included is an interview with Beecroft and four essays on her work, one of which is a rather intriguing analytical breakdown of elements in her pieces, such as the controversial VB50 in Sao Paulo, in which Beecroft used white girls painted black (thereby losing her corporate sponsor's approval). The flatness of the images, often blurry here when they could be sharp, do not completely capture the sense of live performance, and the models remain just that, rarely achieving in print the individuality that Beecroft says she is seeking. Still, the layout is canny, and, though deliberately lurid, the photos do convey deep questions about femininity, art and spectator-based consumerism.
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