Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Object as Mediator

Flemish artist duo Robbert&Frank/Frank&Robbert brought their performance art piece, The Object as Mediator, to the city this week. It's rare to see something of this abstract level here, even deep under the dermis of Dubai's art world. I had to miss their show at the Mahani event on Dec 10th, but there was, fortunately, another opportunity to see them perform today at The Mine, along with an unexpectedly strong turnout.

One especially interesting dimensions to their 45-minute performance was the lighting. The performance began with the gallery lights shut off, and all the lighting from then on came from performance props, including a film projector and the headlamps of a MINI they drove through the gallery. Featuring no dialogue, their performance, as well as the occasional audience members' participation, took place silently, with an oddball music track mix playing in the background.

Employing such props as wooden blood pools, forensic brushes, and miniature pine tree cutouts, the artists' actions during the performance seemed to be portraying the construction of violence, and depicting as farce the process of investigating, analyzing, and assigning responsibility for it. Such themes could be particularly relevant now, given recent events in the US and in the Middle East.

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