JHG Footprints Theme 3: Artist and the Body/Performance

Image of New Moves performance by Charlie Hooker in collaboration with Vincent Brown, 1982 

JHG Footprints is an online exhibition using John Hansard Gallery’s archive. Four themes will be selected, each running for a fortnight, during which time we will be posting material from artists and shows associated with the chosen concept.

Theme 3: Artist and the Body/Performance

“Throughout the 20th Century, one of the major developments in art has been the evolving role and use of an artist’s own body as a source of ideas, expression and experimentation. Manifesting itself in a range of ways over the decades, the shifting focus and pushing of boundaries has been a hugely significant driver in how art has evolved, and continues to evolve to this day.

JHG has always strove to reflect these different ways of working, and even from its earliest days in 1982, worked with artists such as Charlie Hooker on experimental performance work. Similarly in 1983, the Gallery held early career exhibitions by Cindy Sherman and Rebecca Horn – two artists who truly broke new ground in how an artist could transform themselves through their work. The 60s, 70s and 80s also saw the emergence of generations of artists who, through painting, drawing, photography, film and performance, made highly personal work that reflected an interest in the relationship between the body, the landscape and personal identity: Lie of the Land, 1999 (curated by Antonia Payne) was one of the Gallery’s key exhibitions on this theme.

Further programming evolved throughout the 2000s, including major solo exhibitions by Gina Pane, 2001 and Joan Jonas, 2004. One seminal exhibition and publication on the subject of performance, or more specifically, the relationship between an artist and their documenter, was Live Art on Camera in 2007 (curated by Alice Maude-Roxby). In 2013, Performance/Audience/Film focused on the direct relationship between performance and its audience. Later that year, JHG worked with Mel Brimfield on the exhibition Death and Dumb and the performance An Audience with Willy Little, performed by Dickie Beau; an ambitious production first held aboard the SS Shieldhall at Southampton docks.

Ideas around body, identity and performance, remain an important part of the JHG programme, and we to have continued to champion new work by artists such as Elaine Mitchener, Lisa Watts, Oozing Gloop and Hetain Patel, amongst others.”

Ros Carter, Head of Programme (Senior Curator)
Joined John Hansard Gallery in 1991

Installation view of Cindy Sherman exhibition, 1983. Photo: Steve Shrimpton 
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