Out of Turn

In bringing together the present selection of artists and exhibition materials, this project draws attention to the practice of performance in Asia, and especially in South Asia, gathering a multi-generational group of artists to underscore its evolution over the decades.

Artists have been making performance-based work in South Asia since the 1970s, and earlier in other parts of the continent. Out of Turn presents some moments from that history, with materials drawn from the research collections of Asia Art Archive paired with performances commissioned from a diverse group of artists. In juxtaposing live art with various historical documents, including photographs, texts, and audiovisual recordings, the exhibition touches on the paradoxical relationship between performance and the archive. Performance is generally considered an artform based on gestures and actions, something to be experienced live at a particular place and time. And yet, most people encounter it in a mediated fashion, through recordings and recollections, especially as a performance itself frequently leaves no trace. In other words, the ephemerality of its nature as a practice makes it all the more reliant on the archive for understanding its history. In exploring performance’s multiple existences, including its connection to the archive and to the document, whether in the form of written description, the photograph, or the audio-visual recording, one main goals of the project, then, is to expand our understanding of this most elusive of genres.

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Photography Credits: siren eun young jung, I am not going to sing, performance and installation, 2015