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"Performance" - Shubha Taparia
The Averard Hotel - London, 2018

Echoing three found sculptural pieces each performer will adopt the role of a living statue. Bound and overshadowed by their urban contexts, these figures are complemented by atmospheric sound, which evokes the city, the passing of time and the emotional narrative they embody. This simulation in flesh references both the source pieces that inspired the piece and the street performers of London, who populate the urban landscape.

The first sculpture, a figurine of the Virgin Mary with her child, is abandoned and wired to a wall of dilapidated brickwork, wrapped in an unbroken plastic covering. It was found in Fort Kochi, India, in the garden of a bungalow sold by the owners after inhabiting it for 40 years, this figurine was abandoned in their move. The second figure, a classical allegory of the sciences in splendid robes but overshadowed by the clutter of urban development, was found on the facade of a classical style building on New Bond Street, London. Now only the facade of the building and the figure by sculptor Thomas Rudge remains precariously held as the site goes under redevelopment. The third figure, a rigid shop mannequin, is bound in rope and without a garment to model consigned to storage. It was found outside the chic retail area of Mayfair, London. The accompanying sound piece mirrors the broad geography of the found sculptural pieces, as field recordings were collected between Manhattan in New York, Mayfair London, the Land’s End in Cornwall, the Duomo in Milan, Nikiti in Greece, and the Buddhist caves at Ajanta in India.

This performance shows three figures restricted by a culture that no longer feels the full force of their symbolic value. The found figurines, which inspired the work would otherwise be forgotten by those who can no longer spare the time to revere them. Yet these remnants are charged with an unsettling power, as tokens of the immutable passage of time. Whilst neglected they are not completely lost, instead they bear witness to the past and through the performance are shown to endure into the present.

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