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.
Image © Louise Liliefeldt, Land of the Living, Rhubarb Festival, 2022. Photo Henry Chan.
South Africa / Canada
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 (Québec 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Exhibition: Ceremonial Actions
March 8 to April 27, 2008
Alissa Firth-Eagland & Brenda Goldstein
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.
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, as well as being the latest instalment in FADO’s IDea series.
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.”
Liliefeldt notes her deep connection to those who have influenced her work:
“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.”
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.
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.
Presented by FADO in cooperation with Le Lieu in Québec City, as a satellite event of Le Lieu’s Rencontre internionale d’art performance et multimédia. This event was organized and curated by Sandy McFadden with the support of Istvan Kantor and Paul Couillard.
Paul Couillard (Toronto)
Ed Johnson (Toronto)
Istvan Kantor (Toronto)
Louise Liliefeldt (Toronto)
Richard Martel (Québec)
Julie Andrée T. (Québec)
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)
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