Jürgen Fritz

was born 1958 in the Black Forest in Germany. He studied theatre and the science of music. 1982 – 1990 he worked as a theater director, curator and actor, since 1984 as performance artist. He is co-founder of Black Market International, since the beginning of this international Cooperation of Performance Artists with whom he works since 1985. He showed his performances in all countries of Europe, the USA, Canada, Mexico Asia and Australia. Since 2012 he lives as free lance artist in Hanau. Here he is co- founder of the International Performance Association (IPAH, registered association). He is the artistic director of the annual festival of performance art ZOOM!, co-founder and co-organizer of the Platform for Young Performance Artists and the IPA Summer. Since 1995 he is a lecturer in performance art at different Universities in Germany. He develops his work mostly site specific. His conceptual approach is characterized by an impressive concentration and precision. For that he uses simple materials such as bamboo sticks, a bell or marbles with which he creates inspiring pictures. Performances with simple musical instruments have become an essential component of his work in recent years. His performance of “ringing a bell in dialogue with …” he performs since 2008 with traditional musicians from Europe and Asia. Homepage

Exploring Performance Art

In the center of my interest in Performance Art is the person of the artist. By him / her and through him / her the performative image develops. From this several questions for the workshop can be deduced: What is a performative image? How is the performative image developed? What is presence? With what tools can performance artists work on „presence“?

The workshop begins with concrete, sometimes very intensive physical exercises. These exercises do not serve to teach performance art, the preoccupation with these tasks throw the participants back on themselves and so enhance the confrontation with their own aesthetic experience. Existing insights, images or experiences should be activated and brought in to the actions.

In the sense of a negotiation of the topic „presence” the participant shall recognize him/herself regarding the given situation and the others participants. Here questions about impression as physical perception are the subject of the argument. Presence in this sense is „successfully“ setting oneself in relation to the situation of the performance – as an action in the here and now.

Altogether the workshop is arranged into two parts: The first part is dedicated to the group performance. It deals with issues of common rhythm, impulse and perception. The accompanying exercises set the foundations for a common approach to performance art. The second part deals with the personal approach – to the topic, the material and the strategy of solo performance. In the concluding public presentation these two fields of work are united. For this approx. 2 – hour performance a solo performance is developed, which is shown in a public group performance with the other participants.

About challenge

The basic guideline of this workshop is to support the participating artists in their individual approach to performance art. By questioning the individual borders of social and gender codes we try to create an inspiring and challenging situation for new aspects and possibilities in the own work.

About the definition of Performance Art:

Generally, for the practice I do not consider the discussion about the correct definition of Performance Art as very helpful. I agree with Hans-Thies Lehmann, who in his book “Post-Dramatic Theater” has the following definition: “Performance is, what those who are showing it, announce as such.”[1]For the situation of a workshop, however, it is necessary, to limit the resulting spectrum of what constitutes Performance Art, since only a common language level, makes it possible to concentrate on the work. The workshop Exploring Performance Art is therefore based on the following understanding of performance art:

Performance Art is a genre of Fine Arts. This setting has an influence mainly on the sculptural self-understanding of the artist, and thus on the expected reception attitude of the audience.
Performance Art is processual art. The performative picture develops during the action, in consequence of the confrontation with the material and the performance situation.
Performance Art is not expressive or narrative – ie in the foreground stand no stories or messages. In this sense, Performance Art refers to itself, Performance Art is self-referential. The person of the artist is the first and most important material of the artistic discourse.
The quality of the submitted objects or the material of the artistic concentration is measured by its potential of changing and developing the person. Therefore it is not the question what the artist does with the material but how the material reflects back on the artist!
Hopefully, performance produces an event as a result of a real experience in the situation of the performance.

Feedbacks from participants:

XAN Coleman (National Review of Life Art, Winterschool, Glasgow 2010) “What’s the next step? Jürgen Fritz’s course group (a week later) was pervaded by this question even before it was posed; debate on the realms of performance craft holding equal measure to the performance itself. Together we rose, sank, quarreled; were held, dropped and recovered. It’s hard now to reflect on Jürgen’s workshop without the image of his bell-ringing, bagpipe-backed euphoria piercing my mind. The reverie, even ecstasy, of his performance (at the NRLA) clasped the essence of our week in one simple frame: the joy of the act.” http://www.newmoves.co.uk/nrla-blog/64-nrla-blog/919-nrla30-a-glasgow-adventure-xan-colman

Richard Spartos (IPAH Sommercamp 2007, Berlin) „I just have to say, Jürgen Fritz is a mother fucking slave driver!“ (…) “We worked so fucking hard for that first hour. Then we did this back to back with a partner. We faced off to a partner, made eye contact and rhythmically clasped hands. Our bodies, pouring in sweat, we went neck to neck, then face to face, experiencing tension, intimacy, and the exchange of bodily fluid.“ http://polskareport.blogspot.com/2007_07_01_archive.html [1] Hans-Thies Lehmann, Postdramatisches Theater, Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main 1999, S. 245



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