head 2012, Not Ready Yet, Studio Gallery Jangva, Helsinki, Finland | Photo: Tomasz Szrama
When considering the next featured artist, I was brought back to a performance experience that gave me chills, literally. The performance was by WILLEM WILHELMUS, an artist who (like many) grapples with the title of performance artist, live artist or actionist. During the performance, Wilhelmus projected a collaborative video work while simultaneously guiding a perfectly shaped snowball across every inch of his body. The frozen object noticeably altered his body temperature and seemed to take an eternity to melt. His actions concluded shortly following the end of the video, which revealed that the snowball was carefully selected and flown by Wilhelmus from Finland to New York. The simple and poetic performance narrative has remained present with me for nearly 5 years now. Needless to say, it was a powerful gesture.
I asked Wilhelmus to consider his emergence into performance, to comment on the recent resurgence of the medium and to reveal influences and/or inspirations. His text and additional works can be found below. I hope you enjoy! -Quinn Dukes
Willem Wilhelmus: "Life is a living organism in itself. Forms are changing, popping up and disappearing, sometimes reappearing. I experience my life as a pool of (possible) emergences. From a study in metallurgy in Holland, via training and teaching in body-awareness and emotional expression in Berlin and Southern France, I fell into performance art in Finland. I felt at home. This is the field where I can be as true as possible to myself and others.
So, I created and presented a hundred plus performances all over, meeting hundreds of dear and interesting people from so many cultures, sharing our works with each other and with a thirsty world.
Like many of my colleagues, I initiated and organized various events and festivals. I love to bring people together, to create an intense and intimate atmosphere of art action.
Performance art is alive indeed, thanks to so many artists who are prepared to take the risk of exposing themselves in a most integer way. It is difficult to mention names, there are so many. So here are only a few of my friends, just to give a taste of the wide scope of how I am influenced all the time.
The collaboration with Tomasz Szrama, the night long talks with Roi Vaara, the inspiring works and words of Nathalie Anguezomo Mba Bikoro, the subdued poetry of Diana Soria, the archive of Boris Nieslony, the unbelievable generosity of Chen Jin, the organizing of a fine festival by Joan Casellas and from here I could go on and on...
The interest in performance art is rising. I think the need to experience something real, the wish to feel the connection, and the urge to get out of the self-reflecting comfort zone, are the ingredients that make people attend and give their full attention. They want to be touched. And so do I."
SELECTED WORKS FROM WILLEM WILHELMUS
links to performances:
1. time drops 2. right foot mind 3. afrique 2 4. the human cost
5. wallflower 6. present 2 7. through the screen 8. kick the bucket
9. the weight of questions 10. caught in the act 11. a los olvidados
12. sold out
CHECK OUT MORE from WILLEM WILHELMUS on his website: www.willemwilhelmus.com/