a performance project conceived and directed by Giuseppe L. Bonifati (IT)
Taylor Ayling (UK)
graphic and design
Linda Sugataghy (HU)
VR and mixed reality
Momchil Alexiev (BG)
DOO performing arts group
Danish Arts Foundation (DK)
AQB (HU), Actifilm Ltd (BG)
Every morning a guardian opens the doors to the visitors, watching them as they walk around and admire art in the corridors, and then every night he says goodnight to the exhibited works. He loves the mighty bronze statues on the days when he feels God, and envies them when life does not smile. He is usually sitting on a small, uncomfortable chair without moving, thoughtful; in his constant observation, he becomes one of the objects himself. From subject who watches, to object watched, for then disappearing.
What if the Guardian is able to come out of this mimesis with the museum and to becomepart of the live arts? What happens if he starts to interact on a daily basis with the visitors by deciding to which works to lead them? Or if he whispers in their ears about unknown secrets of the exposed artists? He might even invite the most daring people to get well dressed in front of Helmut Newton’s photos or to take off all of their clothes before the paintings of Monet…
The Guardian can also interact following the best artistic tendencies, being one day in the mood of this, another day in another one: on Monday, it’s time to run exalted in the corridors like the Expressionists, on Tuesday he jumps throughout the rooms shouting like Futurists, on Wednesday he gives directions to the visitors with disordered gestures as the Cubists, on Thursday he comes to work fully covered with commercial brands as in Pop Art, or on Friday he might stay in the corners, stinging roses in his arm as in Body Art, on Saturday he places himself, ecstatic, in the middle of the space as a Renaissance figure, while on Sunday, as in geometric Abstractionism, he ends the week by making precise crosswords on the walls of the museum…
“We have to learn to sit in front of a picture without sleeping, without yawning, without eating or smoking, and above all pretending to be interested in what lies in front of us. In the working hours you can read serious things, though, not the sports journal or the porn magazines. For the occasion, I took books from the library of the town: it was then that I began to appreciate them. I like to devour thriller books. I started sitting in front of “Electric Chair” by Warhol, then I went to the areas of Braque and Picasso. Now I’m in the abstract area. Yves Klein and Piet Mondrian that’s what I prefer. I fix the picture in front of me and after a while it is as if I am flying. Sometimes, the guy who replaces me touches my shoulder and makes me jump. I do not sleep, I am flying in the blue. “Levitation” is what Yves Klein said! On the day closed for the public, they changed the plexiglass. I spent the day watching the Klein in the museum without visitors. I was attracted by the Blue, I wanted to see the dust close up, try to figure out why it was so beautiful, so intriguing. I did not touch, I just got closer and I had a grain on my finger. It made me think about the roof of a chapel, in Rome. I think, it was Michelangelo’s work:a guy touching God with his finger. Believe me, everyday as Guardian of the Museum, i feel the same: I touch God…”
(from “Imaginary journal of a museum guardian”)
After we dedicated the last 4 years to KUNSTPARTIET – THE ART PARTY, a community based performance project for Denmark, we feel now a need to devote ourselves to something more intimate and personal. Without losing the contact with Art. For this reason, the English performer Taylor Ayling will be employed as a Guardian in international museums and galleries.
We think about the Guardian as something therapeutic for both: the Artist and the Viewer. For the first, it is a break from being recognised and staying in the centre of the public attention; for the second, it is a possibility to recognise himself in a closer artistic figure.
How to become a Guardian? I did not do any school for that, so I certainly do not have to hurry. I have to listen, to move on tiptoes or to wait in the shade of the canvases, like a chameleon. Chameleon’s colour change is mainly due to an emotional state. When the chameleon is relaxed, the result is the green, as we all know them. If the chameleon is in a state of excitement, for a clash or a pair for example, it changes into yellow-orange.
How to find a balanced equilibrium in the nature of a museum? What colours and temperatures will have a guardian’s body and mind in a state of quiet, and how to emerge from the harmony of this artistic nature by interfering with the visitors? Keeping this animalistic instinct, changing from one colour to another, raising and lowering the temperature keeps the Guardian’s attention alive and it gives also depth to the performance itself. If I look back over the years, i did not invent anything new. I refer to Plato’s mimesis: do I want to faithfully play a guardian or to create an illusion? (as in paintings using perspective to fool the viewer).
In both cases, I will try to finish my book in the shadow…