Since 2007, while focusing on his academic research on “Performance Art”, Mikes Poppe quoted a number of live performances in the form of re-enactments (‘Archive-projects’). He specialized in meticulously reconstructing canonical/historical performances (from the 1960ies & 70ies), confronting them with so-called ‘Inspired-by projects’: i.e. semi-autonomous performances inspired by the historical antecedents, creating a personal interpretation/transformation of the original material. Poppe re-enacted work of Marina Abramovic, Danny Devos, Vito Acconci, Chris Burden just to name a few. Besides these research projects, he regularly presents autonomous art performances, drawings and installations. His visual artwork has strong performative elements and can be seen as complementary to his live art projects. Poppe’s work focuses on questioning the relevance of art performance today: how does a young artist relate to today’s art world where (performance) art is often reduced to theatre or even entertainment… Poppe subscribes the necessity of the ephemeral character of performance art and its craftsmanship: his work is tailor-made for the occasion and location. The artist’s body —in dialogue with art history— is his main tool and starting point. Mikes Poppe —who describes and presents himself as an artist/terrorist—, tries to incarnate a kind of artistic trinity: the ‘homo historicus’, the ‘homo analyticus’ and the ‘homo spectaculator’. These 3 simultaneous identities define and energise (1) his struggle with the (canonical) art history, (2) his desire to analyse the world (of art), and finally, (3) his need to make a constant appeal to the audience, offering elements of physical and mental transgression.
Poppe created over 40 performances and installations since 2007, a.o:
2018:“In search for Bas Jan Ader” @Mesdagcollection, The Hague, NL: a performance during the group exhibition ‘The Sensation of the sea: in honour of Bas Jan Ader’, commissioned by The Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam
2017:“De Profundis” @courthouse and Muzee, Ostend, BE: durational performance during the exhibition: ‘The Raft, Art is not lonely’, commissioned by Muzee (Ostend, BE)
2016:“Je chie donc je suis” @Troubleyn/Laboratorium, Antwerp, BE: permanent neon-installation.Other permanent artworks by Marina Abramovic, Orlan, Kris Martin, Luc Tuymans, Koen Theys a.o.
2013:“POWERflame” @Royal Army and Military History Museum;Brussels, BE: ephemeral landmark on the top of triumphal arch, commissioned by Museum Night
For Onboards Biennale 2021, SHOW UP / SHOW OFF, I created “Tela bianca/Post-azione: a self-portrait as an anonymous artist”: This image is the only remnant of my solitary performative action, executed without audience.
I am wearing a white overall, gloves and balaclava.
My only tool is a white, virgin canvas.
I hit the canvas with my head.
I repeat this action until my head and body fully penetrates the canvas.
On May 12th 2021, photographs of my action were taken by photographer Marcel Lennartz in an Antwerp studio. The image I created for Onboards is a semi-still: several moments of the action are overlaid and fused into one image. I am interested in the unavoidable but cathartic moment of inertia and silence after the act of destruction.
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