The HARABEL Contemporary Art Platform hosted a talk with artists Flutura Preka & Besnik Haxhillari (The Two Gullivers) within the Manifesta 14 Project for the Western Balkans, co-financed by the European Union. The event took place on March 9, 2022.
During this talk the Two Gullivers focused on theoretical examples of performance stating that performance as a practice is a component of all art forms. According to them performance is an art that belongs to reality and a process that turns into activity including several actions, where basically the final product, the image, remains the most important one. They also talked about some theories by Thierry De Duve (Belgian professor of Modern Art Theory and Contemporary Art Theory) who wrote in an article that performance would be considered: “all forms of contemporary art that are neither painting nor sculpture, neither theater, nor dance, nor music, nor narration, but at the same time it borrows from all these different forms”. They also quote a saying from Peggy Phelan (one of the founders of International Performance Studies) which states that “The only life of performance is the present.”
The artists also talked about their artistic journey, mainly focused on the medium of performance, giving examples from their artistic activity over the years. Some of the featured performances were: Bauhaus 1. Sleep: Adventure on the fog, Artspace, Peterborough (Ontario) 2009; Gullivers’s dream, Museum of Modern Art Vienna MUOK, 1999 – 2000; Bauhaus Nr.2, Gulliver’s Rehearsal, Loop Gallery, Toronto, 2011; Nightsea Crossing, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, 2011; Nightsea Crossing, Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, 2013; Drawingmovingtable, Bale – Saint – Paul (Quebec) 2014.
During this talk they also discussed the acquaintance with the Art of the Performing Composition, also known as Performography. Performography is a term used for performance since the beginning of the new century and the Two Gullivers present it as a performance documentation referring to their artistic career of over 20 years.
The Two Gullivers
Born in Albania, Flutura Preka and Besnik Haxhillari (The Two Gullivers), studied visual arts in Tirana, Lausanne, Berlin and Montreal (Masters and Doctorate at UQAM). Since 1998 they have been working as a duo with the artistic name “The Two Gullivers”. They presented their performative works at the Venice Biennale (1999), After The Wall, Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin (2000), at the Beijing Biennale (2005), VIVA Art Action (2006, 2010) in Montreal, the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Montreal (2013), at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec (MNBAQ) (2016) and the Museum of Contemporary Arts of Montreal (MAC) in 2018.
They participated in other projects such as: Installation Art in the New Millennium (2003), East Art Map (2006), Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (2010). Besnik Haxhillari( PhD) and Flutura Preka (PhD) both work at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), and are also members of the URAV research group at UQTR. The results of their research are known in many international conferences and publications. Their research is focused on the process of creation and genesis of the art of performance through preparatory drawing, as well as on topics of remake in performance and contemporary art.