INSTALLATIONS - FLOATING STRUCTURES - HAPPENINGS - PERFORMANCES
THE BODY THAT SPACE FORMS
With the object of preparing the exhibition I had to do for the Venice Biennial in 1978, in which I presented a series of floating structures, and throughout the previous period, I began a series of participative activities with the students of Fine Arts. In these I proposed establishing a creative dialogue with surrounding space, with the sea, the air, clouds, light, foam and so-on, applying a minimum of technical resources, partly using detritus we were able to find on Saler beach in Valencia, where this event took place. This is how we began a series of “Happenings” that we called “Celebration on the Wind” (“Celebració al Vent”), in which, together with various large pieces capable of flying, allusions to Icarus and Dedalus were constructed or represented that were almost operatically labyrinthine. We created poems with the bodies of the participants, written on light transparent paper sheets that they wore and mixed with the wind. Simple mechanisms moved by the breeze produced incessantly, in differing sizes, iridescent soap bubbles that the wind also dispersed. From ’78 to ’83 I continued performing a series of urban “happenings” with the students of the School of Fine Arts, trying to establish an imperceptible but certain relation between the performers, their performances, and the pace of life on the streets with the reality of human behaviour and interactions in a city. We tried to integrate reality and dreaming in a kind of theatre of totality, where the stage was the whole city, and the actors, who were as much the passers-by as the performers, were intended to melt into everything.
In ’79 we carried out a real “Journey by Little Train” (“Viatje en Trenet”) from Valencia to the Malvarrosa. We took a small local train, and each of the performers had to acquire another character different from their own, without it being noticeable that they were acting or disguised. A strange journey with that very light tension that produces an uncertain ambiguity, and it is difficult to know where this comes from.
The journey ended in the port where a shallow-bottomed tourist boat picked us up and took us out two miles from the coast. Here, the driver, who we considered the captain of the craft and thus had the capacity to do so, married a couple from among the numerous participating group.
With similar criteria I continued creating exercises of this type for some years, in the style of a workshop in which we studied together the concepts and strategies to create these activities, and which I have brought together in the “Chronology” (“Cronología”), involving many of those same enthusiastic students from the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes de San Carlos in Valencia (Saint Carlos Higher School of Fine Arts).
JOSÉ MARÍA YTURRALDE