I have to emphasize that performance is NOT theatre! When I create a performance I do not “play a role” – I AM this (piece of art) while creating this. I would describe a performance as a piece of art/ a“painting”https://artistirena.com/paintings-various-periods/ in time & space continuum, 4 dimensional. Special yet not exclusive areas of my interest: 1. Interactions with the spectators in performance, which give possibility of a deeper artistic impact on their aesthetic feelings & sub- & consciousness. They do not anticipate it; I do not know their reactions in advance. 2. To create a performance in my own or of the other artists’ installations.
Below also documentation (video stills, descriptions) of my art performances which were not documented by video.
I. POETRY & Paintings. Zurich 1993, new building of stock exchange. 1. Slide projections of my paintings accompanied by live guitar music. This introduced quiet & contemplative mood. 2. I read my poetry. (No photo/video material left)
II. BUTO, BLACK< = >WHITE: akin/reunion. Art performance, Zurich 1995, new stock market building
Idea: my personal experiences, feelings & reflections sublime & ripen into abstracted images. Woman & man symbolized by white & black colors. I wish to perform the black one by myself in order to diminish his power over me. This working process brings further realizations: also given here are purity, cosmic belonging and connection of the black with the white one. These are symbolized by a white stripe on the black one’s head. I choose to accept the necessity of every experience. A “song of innocence” turns to a “song of experience”. Clay used in the performance symbolizes the worldly experience that connects & equalizes these 2 poles.
Action: the figures play with the connecting & separating energies (buto mode). There is a huge invisible energy ball floating between them & for a while they cannot leave it alone. Moving very slowly they diverge from the ground level (where my paintings are being exhibited) over the balcony, down the stairs – situated opposed each other – to the granite-covered basement. Each one descends down the stairs in one’s own manner, each one’s movements originated from the inner necessity. There they come together slowly, cover each other with clay, and become alike. They nearly congeal creating a live sculpture. They part in a slow dance to meet again & again.
III. BUTO. Art performance,Zurich 1995, BeWo.
Idea: to transmit extreme sensations of soul/body – trials by oppositions, dying with a living body. Retreat into the inner space (with nature sounds as background) leads to oneness with nature – salvation from the temporary unbearable human existence. Tape recording sounds of a waterfall as a natural narcosis. The supernatural powers awaken inside me; the “I” transforms into an eagle flying high above. From this perspective the experience becomes relative, the pain soothed. Phoenix resurrects from fire. Action: arising from the inner silent very slow buto movements. High tension. Deeply convincing presence – even a very nervous dog though jumped aside when I got close YET did not make a sound!… Simple black outfit. The face covered with clay. At the beginning of the performance accompanied by a sound record of a small waterfall & forest sounds. The main part in silence.
IV. RITUAL THEATRE. Art performance,Switzerland, Biel 1996. (no visual documentation). Idea: investigation of one’s own different states by means of repeated movements & improvisation, also within a group interaction.
Action: a group performance of 3 parts. 1. Improvisation. 2. Partially prepared. 3. Improvisation. Each one of the 5 performers preliminary develops a succession of short movements that express an innermost event (sub- or conscious). In the second part they successively execute their sets of movements one after another & repeat these sets for 5-7 times running. The end of one person’s movement set overlaps the beginning of the set movement of the next person for 1-3 seconds. Therefore the places where one performer starts & another one ends the movement set remove more & more from the starting point, performers meet unexpectedly. Thus tension rises, the state of performers alters. It generates exciting inter-improvisation in the third part. The spectators were previously told of a possibility to also start performing at this point. Some of them dared to! (No visuals left)
V. THE WAYS OF NIGHT. Art performance in a theatre play,Zurich 1998
Idea: after the theatre play has been translated to me I created my own performance inside the play. My figure represents the spiritual pole to the worldly & nationally fixed idea of the Iraqi refugee artists. In this way their fixed identification – Iraqis in emigration – is being abstracted to the meta level. Loneliness of a spirit which has “emigrated” into a body=a foreign land, loss of the cosmic motherland, a spirit’s difficulty to assimilate in worldly existence, homecoming being only a dream in the bodily imprisonment. My figure is a spiritual-philosophical interpretation of the simplified in this play reflection of this aspect of life.
Action: painted & dressed in light blue (inner perception). Slow movements, often still, always silent. The spirit unnoticed by other figures in the piece plays yet an active role. My solo ends with an interaction: I go with my arms outstretched, bent down along the first row very close to the spectators, looking directly into each pair of eyes. Only Iraqi men & 3 children in this row. Except of 2 women, all of spectators are Iraqi men. 2 men hold my glance for 1-2 seconds; the rest watches me beforehand, yet lowers the eyes before I approach them…
A quotation about “The Ways of the Night” from the International newspaper AL-KUDS al arabi 10.04.98:
„… the topic of the piece: estrangement of the Iraqis; their relationship to the lost motherland; how they deal with the dream of returning which becomes more unreal day by day; how these aspects manifest themselves in different circumstances. The theatre took on an experimental character through the performance of the artist IRENA … . With her slow & silent movements she embodied the idea of this piece”.
VI. WITH YOUR KNIFE. Art Performance(ritual), Zurich, 2000
also for this performance only photos are available.
This performance is the result of my artistic sublimation of pain, murderous rage, thirst for revenge… An installation artist from moscow, a visitor, seduced me emotionally into an intimate relationship – short time as it turned out soon. Then he left back & dropped me. While being with me he presented this cute elk toy to me. After he left, after I called him & heard his rude replies, I brewed & then I lived through all the painful feelings while creating this performance in front of another artist who took the pictures AND also felt strongly with me.
It was really unbelievably amazing, rewarding, deeply touching – when I finished the full action, stood still (he also stood still in our deep silence), then at last turn to him and looked at him – WE SIMULTANEOUSLY rushed into each other’s arms !… The pic 26 shows the photograph of this man’s (who caused me deep pain) installation in moscow. The LAST pic 27 shows this installation TRANSFORMED by me – the NEW INSTALLATION WITH MY ELEMENTS (the cut off horns) included in the photograph of his installation. This last step was MY ARTISTIC REVENGE!
random video stills
MY ATLANTIS, video here https://vimeo.com/28075261?share=copy . 1 still – video here https://vimeo.com/28075261?share=copy . 3 still – video here https://vimeo.com/56423538?share=copy . BLACK=WHITE, video here https://vimeo.com/334696262?share=copy . You can purchase some of my videos (art performance, video-art on vimeo).