Presenting works from the early 20th century to today, The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance examines the notion of stillness as both a performative and visual gesture. This major Walker-organized exhibition features pieces by an international roster of artists testing the boundaries between stillness and motion, mortality and aliveness, the still life and the living picture.
Stillness and permanence are common qualities of painting and sculpture. Consider, for example, the frozen gestures of a historical tableau, the timelessness of a still life painting, or the unyielding bronze or marble figure. Translating these traditional mediums into actions, artists use performance to investigate the interplay between the fixed image and the live body.
The Paradox of Stillness showcases more than 100 works by some 65 artists, including 15 live performances activated in the Walker’s galleries or public spaces at intervals throughout the presentation. Works on view range from object-based art and pictures that subtly come to life or shift outside the frame to actions staged by live performers that slowly unfold or unexpectedly reappear. Across the exhibition, puppets and automatons dance through space, while burning candles and rotting fruit mark time’s passing.
The presentation features works by Marina Abramović, Giovanni Anselmo, Vanessa Beecroft, Larry Bell, Robert Breer, Trisha Brown, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Elliot Caplan, Paul Chan, Merce Cunningham, Giorgio de Chirico, Fortunato Depero, VALIE EXPORT, Lara Favaretto, T. Lux Feininger, Urs Fischer, Simone Forti, Gilbert & George, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Anthea Hamilton, David Hammons, Philip Haas, Maria Hassabi, Pierre Huyghe, Anne Imhof, Joan Jonas, Paul Kos, David Lamelas, Fernand Léger, Goshka Macuga, Maruja Mallo, Piero Manzoni, Fabio Mauri, Lucia Moholy, Robert Morris, Dudley Murphy, Senga Nengudi, Paulina Olowska, Roman Ondak, Dennis Oppenheim, Philippe Parreno, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Pope.L, Charles Ray, Pietro Roccasalva, Anri Sala, Xanti Schawinsky, Oskar Schlemmer, Kurt Schmidt, Cindy Sherman, Roman Signer, Laurie Simmons, Avery Singer, Cally Spooner, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Mickalene Thomas, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Franco Vaccari, Franz Erhard Walther, Tom Wesselmann, Franz West, Jordan Wolfson, and Haegue Yang.
The exhibition is accompanied by the most comprehensive publication to date on this subject, with contributions by Vincenzo de Bellis and Jadine Collingwood, Walker Art Center; Manuel Cirauqui, Guggenheim Bilbao; Hendrik Folkerts, Art Institute of Chicago; Emma Lavigne, Palais de Tokyo, Paris; and Catherine Wood, Tate Modern, London. Produced by the Walker, the catalogue includes more than 400 illustrations, from spectacular color images to rare archival documentation. Available April 2020.
Curators: Vincenzo de Bellis, curator and associate director of programs, Visual Arts; with Jadine Collingwood, exhibition curatorial assistant, Visual Arts