Richard Saltoun presents a stand dedicated to Gina Pane, a French artist of Italian origins, who was instrumental to the development of the international Body Art movement, establishing a unique and corporeal language marked by ritual, symbolism and catharsis. This remained at the heart of her artistic practice, with her body as a tool of expression and communication until her death in 1990.
Presenting seminal works coming from the archives of the Galerie Rodolphe Stadler, the Parisian gallery of Pane who were themselves revolutionary in their presentation of avant-garde performance art, the stand celebrates the artist’s pioneering career with a focus on the actions for which she is best known.
Her actions strived to reconnect the forces of the subconscious with the collective memory of the human psyche, and the sacred or spiritual. In these highly choreographed events, Pane subjected herself to intense physical and mental trials, which ranged from desperately seeking to drink from a glass of milk with her hands tied behind her back, breaking the glass and lapping at the shards with her mouth (Action Transfert, 1973); piercing her arm with a neat line of rose thorns (Action Sentimentale, 1973); to methodically cutting her eyelids and stomach with razor blades (Action Psyché, 1974); all performed silently in front of gathered audiences.
Exploring universal themes such as love, pain, death, spirituality and the metaphorical power of art, Pane sought to reveal and transform the way we have been taught to experience our body in relation to the self and others. She defined the body as “a place of the pain and suffering, of cunning and hope, of despair and illusion.”
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