UNTITLED 2010 – 2020, Artissima, Torino, 2010
Video: Milano 2020
Untitled (2010 – 2020) marks another chapter in the research that LIUBA has been dedicated to the social and relational dynamics into the art-world. Following her typical working pattern, surprisingly inserting herself into real-life contexts, LIUBA attended to the opening of Artissima Art Fair in Turin dressed in white, loose hair and bare feet, offering herself to the audience of professionals, curious and visitors of the Fair with their arms outstretched in an embrace.
Their reactions have been recorded by a video operator and a photographer who secretly kept track of the momentary intimacy created between the artist and those who accepted her invitation to hold her.
With this simple and direct action, LIUBA aims to bring attention to the human and emotional value of relationships, which very often, in the dynamics of the art world, is set aside in favour of market dynamics, which place people in well-defined and stereotyped roles (artist/spectator/gallery owner/buyer).
The gesture of the embrace, apparently soft and light, thus becomes the tool to carry out a criticism of the system in which the artist herself moves.
In 2020, during the COVID-19 emergency which forced people in isolation into their own home and into social distancing, with no other contacts than the ones mediated by technology, LIUBA decided to devote herself to editing the footage and photos of this performance, aware that in the era of global pandemic these images take on further meaning. The action of embracing a stranger looks like a remote reality, almost impossible to start it again as a social practice, but at the same time there is a strong need to resume this practice as soon as possible, and stronger than ever.
“It is incredible to see how much hunger for affection I saw and experienced on my skin during the performance piece. People literally collapsed in my arms, many threw themselves int me as fish into the water, many after first amazement or a first shyness, let themselves go in a liberating embrace. Others were as if frightened, as something desirable and unattainable and avoided it or gave a light squeeze which, however, often suddenly became charged with all the repressed affectivity that was in them. It was wonderful, feeling all this hidden humanity that can’t wait to be able to discover itself, and has given an invitation to do so. And through the intimacy of the hugs, I felt bodies, bodies that you usually we do not perceive, behind the clothes, the social masks, the distance.
Here, the distance. Today we are forced to live apart, feeling the proximity of the body of others as a threat, and this is becoming something alienating. With this video, I would like to remind us of the nature we are made of and the need for intimacy that shapes us, inside and outside of art.”
I am a performance artist, video artist and site-specific interactive projects artist living at the moment in Milan and Rimini. I have been lived in New York and in Berlin as well, now I am back to Italy and I am a new mum! But I am and will be always a great traveller!
My work is concerned with social, anthropological, geographical, philosophical issues, human behaviour, interactivity and chance. My research is based on the analysis of contemporary society, investigating contradictions and social problems of daily life, with often an ironic approach.
My practice consists of site-specific actions that burst provocatively into daily life and of video works that assemble the performance, the reactions of people and the identities of the involved places. I am interested also in creating participative projects where the public takes directly part to the performance. I have been shown and have performed internationally, including at the Venice Biennial, The Armory Show New York, PAC Milan, Art Basel, Scope London, Artissima Tourin, Grace Exhibition Space, Brooklyn, The Native Museum, Mashteuiasth and Canada. My work has been reviewed by Artnet Magazine, Flash Art International Magazine, IkonoTV, Artribune and others.
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