The missing body: performance in the absence of the artist

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Baker, Cindy
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Art.
This thesis explores performance through an investigation of art in which the artist’s body is obscured, hidden, or not present in the final manifestation of the work. Through a three-pronged project of creative production, written paper and curated exhibition, I present four methodologies for removing the artist’s body from performance; work that engages others to enact the performance, work that is activated, created or completed by audience transgressions in the presentation space, object-based artworks that are stand-ins for the artists’ bodies, and artists whose bodies are hidden within the work. These methodologies are effective in opening dialogue about concepts that are otherwise difficult to broach, particularly those topics that address corporeality and identity. I discuss my own work, which deals with the taboo body, particularly as it relates to gender, sexuality, disability and fatness. Simultaneously, I examine works by a variety of artists using similar methodological strategies to address topics such as race, nationalism, transgression, the grotesque, and the uncanny in ways that engage their audiences in meaningful and lasting dialogue.
Contemporary art , Performance art , Conceptual art , Fat studies , Queer theory , The body in art , Fat , Queer studies , Gender studies , disability studies