© Gustaf Broms, Pentagram, 2013. Photo Henry Chan.
b. 1966, Sweden
Gustaf Broms is a Swedish visual artist working in performance, video and photography. His performance work has presented work across Europe, Asia and North America. His practice is engaged with the exploration of the nature of consciousness, the dualistic concept of “I,” as the biological reality of being in the BODY, and being MIND, as the perceived experience of the flow of phenomena. He is a co-founding member of REVOLVE Performance Festival in Uppsala. He was the subject of 2016 film, The Mystery of Life – An Art Apart: Gustaf Broms by Carl Abrahamsson.
“To use the time in this predicament as a way to explore the nature of consciousness. Trying to make a translation of the flow of life into a condensed symbol, as a tool for understanding. Spending the last few years looking into the dualistic concept of ‘i’, in terms of association with the idea of BEING NATURE, as the actual biological reality this body goes through, and BEING MIND as a very direct experience of REALITY. Since 2009 I live in the forest of Vendel and work on a series of ‘movements’ that explores why THE DANCING ATOMS OF THIS BODY are not merging with the dancing atoms surrounding it?”Gustaf Broms
In 2014, Swedish performance and visual artist Gustaf Broms composed a list of nine questions that he started to circulate to fellow performance artists—many he had a personal connection with and many more he had never even met. The questions covered a range of paired concepts—the bricks and mortar of performance practice (material/object, audience/receiver, sound/silence, time/rhythm, space/emptiness)—and grounded by questions about personal experience, lineage and language.
The impulse to gather this collection arose from a conversation Broms had had with another artist; but what makes this volume first and foremost an artist’s project is that the questions are asked from the specific perspective of Broms’ deep personal understanding that, as a practice, performance resides at the permeable borders between the conscious and subconscious, and the meeting of the concrete world of form and the spiritual realm. For Broms, these are the essential questions. The responses collected are as diverse and wide-ranging as the artists and their own approaches, from the practical, to the abstract to the simply far-flung, in addition to some reassuring and surprising overlapping ideas and connections.
The roster of participants in 9Questions is an impressive array of international performance artists whose work covers a range of performance and performative multi-disciplinary approaches.
Barbara T. Smith
Linda Mary Montano
Macarena Perich Rosas
Monika Günther & Ruedi Schill
Serge Olivier Fokoua
9Questions, an artist project by Gustaf Broms
Published by FADO Performance Art Centre and Centre for Orgchaosmik Studies
Edited by Gustaf Broms and Shannon Cochrane
Translations by Paula Alvarado, Robert Rowley, Nicolas Scrutton, Tomasz Szrama, Jie Wang
Design: Lisa Kiss Design, Toronto
978-0-9730883-4-2 (FADO Performance Art Centre, Canada)
978-91-639-8460-0 (Centre for Orgchaosmik Studies, Sweden)
Cost: $20 (CAN) plus shipping/postage fees (through Paypal)
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
This publication project is partially supported by Stiftelsen Längmanska kulturfonden (Sweden).
In September, FADO Performance Art Centre is pleased to present an instalment of our International Visiting Artists series. We welcome Macarena Perich Rosas from Chile; Tomasz Szrama from Poland, living in Finland; and Gustaf Broms from Sweden. Join us for a casual artist talk with these three amazing artists and hear them talk about their practices and the work they will be presenting during their time in Toronto.
Tomasz Szrama’s appearance in Toronto is in partnership with VIVA! Art Action (Montréal). Macarena Perich Rosas’ appearance in Toronto is in partnership with LIVE International Performance Art Biennale (Vancouver) and VIVA! Art Action.
LIVE International Performance Art Biennale was founded in 1999 and has located Vancouver, Canada as an important and recognized node of local, national, and international performance art activity and critical study.
Established in 2006, VIVA! Art Action is an international performance and live art festival presented once every two years in Montréal. The festival takes place in the of old bath St Michel in Mile End, and with the participation of the network of artist-run centres in the city.
© Tomasz Szrama, Enter Through the Emergency Exit, 2013. Photo Henry Chan.
The complicated relationship
HuMans and the surroundings
/natural / human / species /
must be resolved on a psychological level,
before any real change can take place ?
do I live with identity restricted to the borders of my skin ?
do I live with the understanding that this is a construct of mind ?
as the water and air flows through my body
is it at all possible to identify with this vessel ?
The work I am planning for Toronto is my first attempt to
explore the possibilities to aid this change,
using the language of the body as tool.
FADO Performance Art Centre presents a new durational performance work, Pentagram, by Gustaf Broms. From September 23-27, Broms will perform a series of street actions in public spaces throughout Toronto’s downtown core, each day from 9:00am to 5:00pm, mimicking a “typical” work day.
Gustaf Brom’s artistic practice is engaged with the exploration of the nature of consciousness, the dualistic concept of “i”, and the biological reality of the body, in an effort to understand the ‘being mind’ as a direct experience of ‘reality.’ In his practice, he started off working photography and installation, but two work in particular led him to work with the more formless processes of performance. In 1991, Broms burned all of his work, and in doing so realized that the intensity of the action and the remaining ash far outdid anything he had previously made. In 2005, he completed a series of works entitled 5 Faiths for a Brave New World in which he worked with objects that were physically too heavy for the body to move. These two experiences created a longing to explore the formless and led up to the project entitled A Walking Piece made with Trish Littler, in which the two artists spent 18 months walking across Eastern Europe. The result is considered a drawing.
Currently, Broms continues to work with a series of movements that look at concepts of inner/outer and movement/stillness, working with his own body as the tool for examining these processes. The constant question for Broms is, “why are the dancing atoms of this body not merging wit the dancing atoms surrounding it?”
Monday, September 23: Union Station pedestrian path, 65 Front Street West
Tuesday, September 24: Toronto-Dominion Centre, 66 Wellington Street West
Wednesday, September 25: Bay Street, near the old Toronto Stock Exchange
Thursday, September 26: Bay Street, south of Wellington Street
Friday, September 27: Queen’s Park Crescent, south of Bloor Street West
© Gustaf Broms, Pentagram, 2013. Photo Henry Chan.
This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?
yellow mandarin, mimosa
honey, chamomile, salt
narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer