Artist Blogs

The Happenings

After becoming so interested in the process of making art rather than the final piece, and then becoming increasingly interested in performance as an art form, I stumbled across ‘The Happenings’. I cannot believe I had not come across this before, as it seems so perfect and apt to the work I am doing now. The term was coined by Alan Kaprow, and it was about performance, but also the process of the work, and audience participation. Like myself, ‘Kaprow was less interested in the art object (paintings) than in the way they were created: he was excited by the performative possibilities of painting.’ (Tate.org.uk)

allan kaprows happening fluids photographed by dennis hopper in beverly hills_0.jpgAlan Kaprow chose the word happening to suggest ‘something spontaneous, something that just happens to happen’ (Tate.org.uk). Despite this, the work was still very much planned, and each element was thought about, again like my practice. Where my piece Thoughts on a Feeling 2016 was thought out in terms of its position in the gallery space for example, the environments, actions, sound, light and the timing were all very important aspects to the 18 Happenings in 6 Parts 1959. The work included instruction of how to behave, and although I don’t want my work to be that directed, I found very useful links between my work and this work, especially when it comes to the idea of social interaction and participation in the work.

Just like John Cage’s music piece 4:33, the work is planned out, though at the same time, anything could happen, and the work would be different every time due to the element of audience participation. Although I have touched on this in my practice recently, I really want to focus more on this as I develop. I want the audience to have more say over my work as am I very interested in the irony of this. The work would be about making my feelings and internal state a visual entity, though the audience could be controlling how/when I can get these internal feelings out. Could this damage the quality of the work? Could this make the work come out in parts? Could this be the most interesting thing I have ever done?

Image found: Alan Kaprow: Tate Website

John Cage 4″33

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