Thursday, January 28, 2010
My Shadi review:
LERATO Shadi is an old-school performance artist in the sense that she is physically invested in her works. Her works are lengthy - Selogilwe (Setswana for "woven") is seven hours - and, therefore, require a high level of physical commitment. So, on a very basic level she explores perpetual actions and how they impact on the body. There is always a sense with Shadi's work that she wishes to identify those acts that are fundamental to human existence.
Shadi uses a neutral canvas for her performances by employing a white palette for the background (in the video performances), her outfit and the metal cubes, which she crawls through in Se Sa Feleng (reference to a Setswana idiom that refers to an eternal state of affairs). This decontextualises her actions, allowing them to exist as abstract expression. It also establishes an imaginative plain, encouraging the viewer to attach their subjective interpretations to the works.
The repetitiveness of her actions also locks viewers into a meditative state, which can simultaneously free them from thought altogether. No doubt, while performing Shadi too vacillates between serious contemplation and mindlessness - both equally empowering states that allow her to either completely inhabit her physical being or to altogether detach from it. And this is the dual function of repetitive movements.