Olga Micińska: "Sculpture Endured?"
Olga's 20 minute presentation for CONSTANT CRAVING ~ PERFORMING UNDER CONDITIONS - DAI's 3 day graduation lectures marathon, June 2018 was entitled
Olga Micińska started her presentation by placing a couple of objects, made of textile, on Yota Ioannidou’s lecterns that are now grouped together and form the backdrop of this presentation. She proceeds to sit down with two wooden objects that, after some alterations, turn out to be two wooden platform shoes, stilted slippers I would say. Their soles are high, making awkward clunking noises as she rises up and starts walking. Except for the sound of the wooden shoes, we hear nothing as she slowly approaches a pair of crafted gloves, already laid out on one of the four pillars in the room. The gloves, shaped like work gloves but with fur rims and laced, are put on, all the while Olga remains rather non-expressive but with a solemn determination. She leaves out of sight and returns with extra wooden clogs on her shoes.
The objects she has made and uses in this performance are quite particular, made with different materials such as wood and textile, sober but also accessoirized. Inadvertently, our attention is drawn to other objects already in the room, even Yota Ioannidou’s lecterns somehow seem suspect to become activated objects. We see a sort of brush or hand fan, which Olga picks up and starts fanning herself with. This goes on, we see that she is making an effort to keep moving the object; is it heavy? All the while, she stands elevated, on these large plateau wooden shoes. There are some objects that are in the room but are never used, their presence creating the tension of unrewarded anticipation throughout the performance.
One by one she starts removing the lecterns from the room, she carts them off. Some of the objects dissappear with them, that what she proposes is removed again. All the while the wooden shoes awkwardly clunking on the marble floor of the otherwise silent room. Leaving out of sight, the sound of her wooden shoes become softer and the room becomes still. She leaves the gloves, two hands perched on a display.
Maria Lind saw Olga’s performance as an interesting example of how to make sculpture perfomative, embodying a movement between simple elements of DIY while simultaneously being sophisticated and slightly fetishistic. It reminded her of the work of visual artist Claire Barclay, but while Barclay’s objects are often waiting to be used, Olga’s objects are quite literally used. In that sense, the performance, in a very peculiar but clear way, gave space to other forms of imagination.
Marina Vishmidt commented on the appearance of the object and the realisation of the object, moving in between autonomous object and work objects. The whole performance in that sense also felt precarious, although Olga was in control, she was also exhausted by the process. The mysterious ritual of self sufficiency is further broken in the perfomance by the appearance of a back stage, where Olga disappears to and receives help when she carts of the objects. This performed support structure further follows Olga’s performance as an allegory of art as a “useless” work that nevertheless has real world effects.
Sven Lütticken begins by remarking that the performance, in the context of Olga’s thesis, is evidence of a criticality towards the conceptualist or post-conceptualist paradigm in art, challenging the division of labor between the artist who designs (conceptual) and the manual labouror who makes (craft). Intriguingly, Sven states, Olga does not use any spoken elements in her work, which is why he is reminded of conceptual performance art from the 1960s & 1970s such as Joseph Beuys and Robert Morris. Furthermore, the activity of moving things around without a clear purpose or logic, gave the suspenseful impression that there must be conceptual dimension. And even though you might be inclined to read the use of these wooden, textile, non-digital objects as a primitive statement, it actually foregrounds the fundamental importance of tools in the making or transformation of the human, possibly the posthuman.
About Olga Micińska