ACTION CALLIGRAPHY #2
TIGER AND BEAR
Tiger and Bear began in 2009 as a collaborative project in South Korea with fellow British artist Colin Riddle. It continued from a previous project centering on a fictional character Das SCHIMMEL, a creation we coined a “conceptual art life.” We wanted to focus on the life outside of public performance and create 4-dimensional art objects. Tangible performances consisted of street performances where we would try to blend in with the crowd and interact with our surroundings and situations, sometimes attempting to interact socially with our spectators. Despite our quirky, outwardly extroverted appearance, Tiger and Bear didn’t really do anything. However the project soon began to attract media attention from South Korea’s expat community. After being approached by The Korea Herald we decided to bring a journalist along with us for an outing at The Daegu Safety Theme park. We left the documentation of the performance in the hands of the journalist. This kind of collaboration became the next phase of the project as blogs, magazines and newspapers became our canvas. More people began to approach us with opportunities and proposals. Organizations wanted to use Tiger and Bear as a promotional tool, be it to boost their online presence, or help promote a charity. We decided to let outside forces shape the direction of the project and to “go with the flow.” The real problem came when art organizations invited us to perform at exhibition openings. As the need arose for us to “perform” or even entertain a fixed audience, the pressure of rising to the challenge led to Colin splitting from Tiger and Bear several days before a scheduled performance.
“Action Calligraphy #2” was what I like to call a “pseudo performance.” I took various art clichés and combined them into the act of calligraphy mark-making with an absurd act of parody. Pain or blood consisted of the tiresome act of trying to prick ones own finger with a pin. Feminism was insipidly hinted at by female audience members being invited to paint with tampons, as another female audience member was instructed to repeat the word “vagina.” Another audience member read the word “juxtaposition” continuously after being instructed to wear a beret, echoing the “pretentious” sentiment evident in my automatically generated artist statement. The grand finale came when I tea bagged a jar of faux-ink (watered down acrylic) and wiped my stained scrotum across the paper.