Performance
Performance Home: An Archive by Louise Liliefeldt

Performing for the archive; the archive is a performance.

For Louise Liliefeldt’s Performance Home project, over the course of fall/winter 2021, the artist is taking a deep dive through her personal archive of materials, photos and videos documenting her performance practice over the last 20 plus years.

On the surface, the goal is to create a website that illustrates Liliefeldt’s practice, providing a chronological history for those familiar with her work and for new audiences. Behind the surface however is the endless work of sifting, sorting, accessing and editing that the archive needs from us. How does the performance artists make order from what is essentially ephemeral, chaotic and non-linear?

This project was partially funded by the Ontario Arts Council. The website design is by Kathleen Smith of 7Pirouettes.

www.louiseliliefeldt.com

Artist
Louise Liliefeldt

Image © Louise Liliefeldt, Land of the Living, Rhubarb Festival, 2022. Photo Henry Chan.


South Africa / Canada
www.louiseliliefeldt.com

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Louise Liliefeldt is a Toronto-based performance artist and painter. Liliefeldt’s work has been presented across Canada in a wide array of festivals, platforms and venues including 7A11D International Festival of Performance Art (Toronto), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Art Gallery of York University (Toronto), FADO Performance Art Centre (Toronto), Images Festival (Toronto), LIVE Biennale (Vancouver), Mayworks Festival of Working People and the Arts (Toronto), Mercer Union (Toronto), Rencontre Internationale Performance D’art (QuĂ©bec City), and Western Front (Vancouver) among many others. Her work has been presented internationally in the Netherlands, Poland, Turkey, USA, and Wales. She is a co-foundering member of Toronto Performance Art Collective (TPAC), which produces the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art.

In 2016, Liliefeldt was commissioned to create a new performance in the context of the exhibition, Toronto: Tributes + Tributaries 1971–1989 at the Art Gallery of Ontario and curated by Wanda Nanibush. Liliefeldt’s performance, entitled What Does It Mean To Forget? was the first in a series of works that focused on the more fragile aspects of the human experience: aging, dementia and death. Her work is predominately concerned with the politics of identity as it intersects with gender, race and class; and seeks to examine the cultural conventions of spectatorship and the links between emotional and psychological states, and physical experience. The methodology of her performance art practice is shaped by the notion of always taking into consideration the significance of changes in circumstances.

Performance
Bureau of Aesthetics: Under Activation

NADI + FADO + MERCER UNION

This program is an accompaniment to NADI’s exhibition, Native Art Department International: Bureau of Aesthetics, at Mercer Union from March 14–October 31, 2020. 

ARTISTS
Abigail Lim
Claudia Edwards
Deanne Hupfield
John Hupfield
Louise Liliefeldt
Lutan Lui
Nathan Roy

In the final weeks of Native Art Department International: Bureau of Aesthetics, artists Native Art Department International (NADI) and FADO Performance Art Centre are facilitating a series of performance (and other) interventions in the space of NADI’s exhibition at Mercer Union.

Created by participants working in a variety of disciplines including performance, dance, music and martial arts, these activations demonstrate NADI’s commitment to kinship and their desire to build solidarity through forms of collaboration that promote non-competition. Each performance is privately executed and the documentation of each gesture will live on the websites of [FADO Site] and [Mercer Union Site]. This approach speaks to the adaptive methodologies of artists and institutions alike to consider how the pandemic environment impacts the practice and presentation of performance art. Here, the perennially debated theories concerning liveness dissolve for a timely discussion around intimacy, kinship and support; tenets that are fully embodied within the ethos and history of performance work.

Mercer Union is a non-profit, artist-centred space in Toronto that was founded by twelve artists in 1979. The organization has a unique track record of presenting innovative exhibitions and programs with Canadian and international artists in formative and established stages of their careers. Mercer Union is dedicated to supporting the production of new and experimental work, assisting artists in realizing pivotal projects. Mercer Union has the will and flexibility to take on ambitious projects and fosters an intimate and supportive space for artists to develop and take risks with their work.

© Louise Liliefeldt & NADI, 2020. Photo Louise Liliefeldt.

Performance
Kitchen Dutch (Part 1 & 2) by Louise Liliefeldt

Kitchen Dutch (Part 1 & 2) is presented in partnership with the 2008 Images Festival, in the context of Ceremonial Actions at York Quay Gallery at Harbourfront Centre.

Exhibition: Ceremonial Actions
March 8  to April 27, 2008

Alissa Firth-Eagland & Brenda Goldstein
Nezaket Ekici
Louise Liliefeldt (performance)
Deirdre Logue
Shana Moulton

Ceremonial Actions is an all women’s show that explores ideas of ritual and performance. This exhibition, at Harbourfront Gallery, blurs interiors and exteriors both literally and figuratively, and spans concepts of mythology, emotion, ritual and psychology. All of the artists in this show have practices based in performance and the artworks investigate these ideas through acts of counting, weaving, rolling, repetition and drawing.

Louise Liliefeldt was born in Cape Town, South Africa in a community described as “coloured”. Traveling back a number of times over the years has resulted in an on-going process of personal discovery through family and ancestry. Using these sometimes-contradictory images, in the performance Kitchen Dutch, Liliefeldt draws (literally, and on a large scale) a picture of self identity.

Kitchen Dutch Part 1: March 7 @ 6:00pm–9:00pm
Kitchen Dutch Part 2: April 12 @ 4:00pm–7:00pm

© Louise Liliefeldt, Kitchen Dutch (Part 2), 2008. Photo Henry Chan.

Performance
Egalitarian by Louise Liliefeldt

FADO presents Egalitarian, a new work by Louise Liliefeldt, one of Toronto’s premiere performance artists. This work is the first in a major new cycle of performances by the artist entitled DEADICATIONS: A Collection of Live Art Works.

In Egalitarian, influences of pop culture and personal memories intersect as Liliefeldt creates the first in a series of “portraits shaped by ritualistic actions.” This special midnight performance takes place in the artist’s home, revealing a selection of her most private acts in an “intimate, honest, awkward and thoughtful” performance. Egalitarian will unfold through a series of images that respond to a specific set of popular songs. Liliefeldt explains: “I am interested in creating actions that respond to the pace and overall mood of each song while also representing ideas that until now I seemed unable to communicate within my artistic or social practices. They have something to do with deep and very personal opinions and emotions that have long been suppressed.”

DEADICATIONS takes its inspiration from a handful of individuals whose life on earth was spent dedicated to the same things I believe in. I was profoundly affected by the dedication of these selected individuals, expressed through their chosen lifestyles and the messages they communicated—whether through the lyrics they professed, their various art forms, or the statements made through life altering actions. All were motivated, inspired by or had no choice but to act with all they had, which in some cases was their life. They were all passionately driven by issues related to the politics of race and class. They are artists, writers and musicians who have given me the inspiration and will necessary to become the individual I am today, and the individual I have always been, as I realize little has changed when reflecting on who and what I am as well as why I am. These individuals are physically dead, but the essence of everything they stood for continues.

Louise Liliefeldt

This performance was presented in FADO’s IDea series (2005–2007), curated by Paul Couillard.

Performance
Life=Art=Life

Life=Art=Life is designed to be an exploratory forum evaluating the past and present trends of performance art in the context of everyday life. Under the auspices of Blank Slate, the weekend event will bring together local and international artists and theorists to present and discuss their work.

The artists include local tableau-vivant diva, Louise Liliefeldt; art-action ambassador Richard Martel from Québec City; writer, professor and Dr. of destruction and art theory Kristine Stiles from North Carolina; and self-declared non-artist Tehching Hsieh from New York City forever famous for his one year performances. Among guests at the Sunday panel discussion will be One Night Only, a Regina based performance art collective, in Toronto for their event Home Repair hosted by FADO. The six members of the group are Adam Budd, Felipe Diaz, Blair Fornwald, Tanis Keiner, Tammy McGrath, and Anna Scott.

Today it seems to us, that performance art, as a rebellious and revolutionary force, has completed its mandate by infiltrating every aspect of life. The life=art=life theory, historically supported by the avant garde, has never been more relevant than today.

If it is true that performance art, as a social engine and generator of change, has accomplished its mission, then what is its’ place in current artistic activities and everyday life?Blank Slate hosts forums for discussions, critical talks, conferences, workshops and interdisciplinary events, conducted in a non-intimidating environment. Participants are encouraged to freely express their ideas concerning today’s artistic activities, new trends, theoretical issues and practical methods. The purpose of Blank Slate is to encourage everyone in the exploration of creative ideas and critical thinking, blending together science, technology, philosophy, politics and art.

Event coordinated by Istvan Kantor and Karen Schreiber
Curated by Istvan Kantor

ABOUT BLANK SLATE
The first Blank Slate event took place in 2003 and was marked by the world famous blackout that put Blank Slate into the right track of enlightening discussion. Since, Blank Slate has hosted ten Discussion cocktail events with local and international artists and has co-operated with performance art agency Fado Perfomance Inc. Participants have included action-artist Gusztav Uto from Transylvania, Canadian Art editor Richard Rhodes, artist stand-ups Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan from Winnipeg, avant-garde legends Eldon Garnet and Istvan Kantor, Toronto Arts Council visionary Jim Garrard, emerging local talents Maria Legault, Jennifer Matotek and Beth McEachen. The Blank Slate strategy based on the practical doctrine that life is a collective social sculpture and everyone is an artist/constructor/architect.


Performances by Louise Liliefeldt, Richard Martel
February 20, 2004 @ 7:30pm
Karen Schreiber Gallery, 25 Morrow Avenue, Toronto

Performances/Videos/DJ by Ulysses Castellanos, Marlee Cargill, Lewis Kaye, Machinesexactiongroup
February 20, 2004 @ 10:00pm–dawn
Polish Canadian Legion No.621, 2290 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Performances by Tehching Hsieh, Kristine Stiles
February 21, 2004 @ 7:30pm
Karen Schreiber Gallery, 25 Morrow Avenue, Toronto

Panel discussion with the artists from One Night Only, Life=Art=Life
February 22, 2004 @ 2:00pm
Karen Schreiber Gallery, 25 Morrow Avenue, Toronto


Presented by Blank Slate with support from the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art.

Performance
SHUT UP!

FADO presents Shut Up!, a series of 10 outdoor performances dealing with the themes of incarceration and wrongful imprisonment—literally, the state of being “shut up.” This event is the second half of a performance art exchange between Chicago and Toronto that began in 1998. Shut Up! offers a unique opportunity for Toronto audiences to sample the styles and aesthetics operating in Chicago’s performance art community in relation to performances by some of Toronto’s hottest performance artists.

The evening will feature a range of styles, from tableaux to spoken word, from interactive, participatory works to spectacle and multimedia presentations. The theme of incarceration will be approached from a wide variety of perspectives, from the highly topical and political (e.g. the recent persecution of Falun Gong practitioners) to considerations of the philosophical, psychological and emotional aspects of incarceration.

CHICAGO ARTISTS
Andrea Polli & Chuck Varga
Jeff Callen
Julie Laffin & Andrew Cook
Louise McKissick
Marlon Billups & Shannon Harris

TORONTO ARTISTS
Ed Johnson
Louise Liliefeldt
Paul Couillard
Shannon Cochrane
Will Kwan

Untitled by Jeff Calan
Jeff Calan continues his work with storytelling using a series of intimately mechanized objects and a camera obscura, and will perform inside it. A frame in a false wall shows what appears to be a photograph, but upon closer inspection it seems to be a film or video, as it is moving, yet it is very sharp, sharper than a film. A hand is seen pulling a scrolling roll of paper, upon which is written a narrative that is full of various events, their causes and effects, and the desperation that comes from being unable to connect cause and effect. The image the audience sees is really from an old, large-format camera with a groundglass back which is behind the frame and it is pointed toward the performer who is moving a roll of paper that contains text from court transcripts of wrongly convicted people on death row. Small objects will be presented within the frame every few minutes. If an audience member walks behind the false wall, the performer takes a flash photograph of the audience member.

Eleven Cent Magic by Shannon Cochrane 
With Jennifer Rashleigh. Thanks to Andrew Pommier. For Kenneth because he invented and constructed the first ‘portable pitcher’s mound’ in 1952. Unfortunately, when it was filled with sand, it was too damn heavy to actually be transported anywhere. His father looked out the cottage window, laughed and went back to reading the paper. The research continues here. Eleven Cent Magic: an experiment to prove that time flies and birds really only float.

Blackstrap by Paul Couillard
In this tableau work, using the fitness trail apparatus, Paul’s body slowly shifts from light to dark.

Untitled by Edward Johnson
This solo tableau work (in the skating rink) considers the physical and psychological realm of confinement in all of its vastness and claustrophobia.

Untitled by Will Kwan
This performance draws links between the ‘silent’ gestures of mime performance and ‘silent’ displays of state power as exhibited through a popular form of punishment known as community service, in this case, maintenance work. The performance addresses the issue of the function of the artist in society: as performer, worker, criminal and clown.

255 by Julie Laffin & Andrew Cook
255 is not a performance. It is an actual memorial to the practitioners of Falun Gong who have lost their lives since July of 1999 when Jiang Zemin branded Falun Gong an “evil cult” and launched his campaign to erase all the Falun Gong practitioners in China by any means necessary. Falun Gong is an ancient moving meditation (Qi Gong) that was once supported by the Chinese govt. for it’s great abilities to improve health. It was banned partly because of the sheer numbers of practitioners, which before the crackdown began, far out-numbered communist party membership in the PRC. The number 255 attempts to quantify the number of human lives that have been taken (that we know of) by means of unspeakable brutality by the Chinese authorities during the deadly campaign against Falun Gong. Practitioners who would not renounce their faith were and are at this moment being tortured to death. When we began this project in May of this year, only two months ago, the number of documented deaths was 196. The number 255 does not begin to speak about the tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners now illegally detained in prisons, psychiatric facilities and labor camps. It does not speak of the rapes, torture, beatings, threats, intimidations, indignities, humiliations, unfair trials, force-feedings, forced druggings, “re-education” efforts, psychological abuses, and countless other inhumane acts against a group of people for simply asserting their right to their spiritual beliefs and peaceful practices. The number also can never represent the suffering of the families and loved ones of the practitioners that have been murdered or have had atrocities perpetrated upon them. The dress you see documents with photos and written names those Falun Gong practitioners who have been killed in police custody since the merciless crackdown began in China exactly two years ago yesterday. It is a companion dress to one that is currently in Washington, D.C. at a rally held there to bring global attention to end the crackdown in China. As citizens of the free world, we urge you to refuse to tolerate the policies of the Chinese government against Falun Gong practitioners in whatever large or small ways you can.

DEVI by Louise Liliefeldt
Devi, also known as the “Bandit Queen,” was born into a poor lower-caste rural family in the northern Indian state of Bihar. She became the subject of great fame and notoriety throughout India as the leader of a violent gang of dacoits (bandits) who terrorized authority for years until their surrender in 1983. Phoolan Devi became a popular cult figure, a vigilante liberator and a symbol of empowerment for the lower-castes of Bihar. This work is a homage to her journey and the strength for which she stands.

I Will Cut Your Grass by Louise McKissick
Digital Video, 1:26:13, 2001
At one time, Dorothy Gaines ‘loved the wrong man’ and ended up in prison. She was put away by purely circumstantial evidence – her ex-lover, a convicted crack dealer, accused her of dealing drugs in order to obtain a reduced sentence for himself. The prosecutors found no evidence of cocaine or any other illegal drugs in her home. She was given a 19-year sentence. “I will cut your grass” is based on a letter written to the judge by Dorothy’s son, Phillip Gaines, age 11, at the time of her sentencing. A fluidly moving camera tracks youthful exuberance at the Washington Park waterslide on a Sunday afternoon, providing a counterpoint to Phillip’s words.

Untitled by Andrea Polli & Chuck Varga
Andrea and Chuck are interested in the use of sound in the establishment of power in government and the military. Their piece involves a ‘Speaker’s Corner’-style open mic, but those who try to use the forum will discover that the words broadcast are not those spoken in the microphone.

PLUS: The Ghetto by Marlon Billups & Shannon Harris

© Louise Liliefeldt, DEVI, 2001. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Performance
Ethel: Bloodline by Louise Liliefeldt

FADO is pleased to present Ethel: Bloodline, a performance by Louise Liliefeldt as part of the Public Spaces / Private Places series. In this new work, Liliefeldt weaves together the disparate elements of her personal history into a tableau that plays on the tensions between the public meaning of private symbols and the private meaning of public symbols.

A wooden cross angles up out of the grass as the sun hangs low on the horizon. As you approach, you hear a piano playing, and you notice that the surface of the cross is covered in photographs. This is a language, a series of keys to a personal history, but how do you interpret them, and what do they tell you of the figure who clings to the cross?

Louise Liliefeldt’s work explores notions of beauty and the attempt to slow time through metaphors, symbols and physical actions. Her work is predominantly concerned with the politics of identity, especially as it intersects with issues of gender and race. Other concerns include the cultural conventions of spectatorship and the links between expanded emotional/psychological states and physical experience.

© Louise Liliefeldt, Ethel: Bloodline, 2000. Photo Paul Couillard.

Performance
Rencontre Performance

Presented by FADO in cooperation with Le Lieu in QuĂ©bec City, as a satellite event of Le Lieu’s Rencontre internionale d’art performance et multimĂ©dia. This event was organized and curated by Sandy McFadden with the support of Istvan Kantor and Paul Couillard.

ARTISTS
Paul Couillard (Toronto)
Ed Johnson (Toronto)
Istvan Kantor (Toronto)
Louise Liliefeldt (Toronto)
Richard Martel (Québec)
Julie Andrée T. (Québec)
BMZ (Hungary)
Roddy Hunter (UK)
Tari Ito (Japan)
Dziugas Katinas (Lithuania)
Gustav Uto (Romania)
Hong O Bong (Korea)
Irma Optimist (Finland)
Hortensia Ramirez (Mexico)
André Stitt (N. Ireland)

Performance Yellow

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?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer