Investigating the roots of gender, sexuality and power, ‘STRIP’ explores the social and psychological dynamics in play within a couple, a small group (3 people) and a gallery space (50 people).
In four parts, the action unfolds inspired by the introduction of red high heels in court by King Louis XIV in the XVII century, as a tool to assert his power and reinforce his privilege, the striptease and the devious and seductive power of branding and advertising.
2019, Performance (30 min), Lewisham Arthouse, London, UK
supported by Arts Council England
Performance: Part I
A character with feminine traits enters the space carrying ‘The most feminine British newspaper’ which was previously abundantly sprayed with ‘The most masculine fragrance in the market’. As she walks around the perimeter of the room, following an anti-clockwise direction, the fragrance fills the air. The newspaper carries a clearly identifiable purple X on the front page. After few rounds in the space, she stops, aggressively rolls the newspaper and starts to violently beat her left hand with it. The action produces a load and authoritative noise in the whole room.
The attendees do not receive any fragment of the newspaper from her.
A character with masculine traits enters the space carrying ‘The most masculine Italian newspaper’ which was previously abundantly sprayed with ‘The most feminine fragrance in the market’. As he walks around the perimeter of the room, following a clockwise direction, the fragrance fills the air. The newspaper carries a clearly identifiable yellow X on the front page. After few rounds in the space, he stops, gently brings the newspaper close to his body and starts to delicately caress it and kiss it. The action produces a barely hearable sound. Silence fills the whole room.
The attendees receive fragments of the newspaper from him.
Performance: Part II
The light suddenly turns red. An androgynous looking character enters the space wearing a felt headdress with five pierced horns, a dark blue long raincoat, coordinated belt and red 10 cm heels.
They then perform a striptease revealing a masculine identity underneath the blue raincoat.
Performance: Part III
After the striptease, the character with red heels reaches the platform and stomps his right foot strongly over the metal. The lights immediately turn white. He then performs a short and intense flamenco dance inspired solo.
At the end of the dance solo, the other two characters reach the centre of space, standing in extreme proximity, point of shoes touching.
In the meantime the dancer changes his shoes from red heels to football boots: black and white Adidas World Cup with six metal studs.
While composing a drawing through the scratching of the studs, the character over the platform produces unpleasant sounds and noises to which the two characters on the ground react assuming different body configurations.
The configurations greatly vary: from extremely antagonistic and violent towards caring and loving. Their movements are inspired by Greco-Roman wrestling, Pina Bausch and Pankration. While the initial face to face pose is reminiscent of Impoderabilia (1977) by Ulay-Abramovic.
Performance: Part VI
When both the characters are laying on the ground, hugging each other, the character with football boots leaves the room. The metal studs of his shoes produce a distinct clicking sound as he walks away.
The character in purple circles the room, following a clockwise direction. She reaches one attendee, gets closer. They kiss, then she leaves the room.
The character in yellow circles the room, following an anti-clockwise direction. He gets closer to a number of audience members. He flirts, he laughs with them, he tickles them, then he leaves.
The room is left to the attendees. Further interactions are not recorded.
Installation view: Lewisham Arthouse, London, UK
UPOs (Unidentified Performing Objects)
2019, UPO (STRIP pierced), Materials after analysis: Flexeine, steel, pigment, solvent, propellant, cotton, felt, 52x45x52cm. Uncertified.
2019, X (1/2 yellow), Spray paint on ‘The most masculine Italian newspaper’, infused with ‘The most feminine fragrance on the market’, 38,1×57,8cm. Uncertified.
2019, X (1/2 purple), Spray paint on ‘The most feminine British newspaper’, infused with ‘The most masculine fragrance on the market’, 38,1×57,8cm. Uncertified.
STRIP: Definition from Cambridge dictionary
verb (REMOVE COVERING)
to remove, pull, or tear the covering or outer layer from something
If you strip someone of something, you remove it from that person
verb (REMOVE CLOTHING)
to remove your clothes, or to remove the clothes from someone else
‘The most masculine and the most feminine fragrances on the market’ were selected after an extensive research in perfume retailers in Central London.
‘The most feminine British newspaper‘ was selected according to three different newsagents in West London.
‘The most masculine Italian newspaper’ was selected based on my childhood and personal experiences; with a specific reference to a person named Carlo, that was really present in my upbringing.
Curated by Séamus McCormack
as part of Rain Wetting Thirst, exhibition with Luca Bosani, Jocelyn McGregor, Sheila Rennick. Arts Council England Project Grants winner.
with: Anna Lily Dean, Rafael Escardó Espejo. Photography: Tom Carter.
© Luca Bosani