Blanket, the Surface of Her

Claude Wampler  

[Blanket, the Surface of Her] is truly of the moment in the way it captures the aesthetic mood of the present, particularly its high-fashion photographic quality and its languorous sexuality. (…) Wampler’s talent lay in her canny ability to translate the spirit of each artist’s aesthetic into evocative live performance. As sexually insistent as a Pasolini movie, as glossy and hyperreal as an Inez van Lamsweerde, each tightly constructed vignette was a checklist of current fixations: violence, bodily functions, gender, race, and the music of youth culture.” – Rose Lee Goldberg in ARTFORUM International, Sept. 1997.
“Exquisite corpse” was one of the Surrealists’ favourite games of chance. To play the game you need at least four elements: a surface for drawing on, something with which to draw,  and two minds. The first participant draws on the surface, hides the drawing, then passes it and the drawing implement on to the next person. The successive participants take up the final lines of the previous player. And so on, all the while with no player knowing the shape of the drawing coming before or after their own. The game continues until the drawing surface is covered.
The New York based artist Claude Wampler challenged eight visual artists to play a sort of live-action version of this game, with herself as the surface. Each one of them could tell her what to do for 10 minutes: the performer as canvas, a tabula rasa for their ideas. So Wampler bends spoons like Uri Geller (Richard Foreman); metamorphoses and barks like a dog in the dark (Paul McCarthy); lifts her skirt and pisses onstage, while on video she takes  an inseparable ally, her dog Cake, for a quite unusual leak (Richard Kern); circles in a wheelchair, while an Asian nurse projects slides of mutilated accident victims and her inner voice recounts her gripping story (Romain Slocombe); studies a fashion magazine in a kitschy beauty salon (Sylvie Fleury); recites Victor & Rolf‘s views on “the similar, if not identical impulses” of fashion and art; sings an aria while Aphex Twin’s techno music silences her voice and piano accompaniment; and was asked to read (half-naked, in an Afro-wig) an extract from a text on slavery (Julia Scher).
However startling, shocking, funny, vicious, ironic or intriguing the contributions of these 8 players were, what makes “Blanket, the Surface of Her” such an intense experience is the way this performer translated and interpreted their concepts.
For, even if it were Wampler’s intention to be a tabula rasa, she simply cannot hide her own wit, creativity, intelligence and experience (she was trained in numerous performance techniques, including butoh, ballet, opera, and acting).
Claude Wampler is still largely unknown in Europe… but not for much longer.

Performed by Claude Wampler; nurse: Keiko Kobayashi; pianist: Urška Marolt

In collaboration with Galerija Kapelica, ŠOU Ljubljana.
With the support of: SCCA, Ljubljana

Date and time of event: 
Oct 17th 21:00
Place of event: 
Galerija Kapelica
Date and time of event: 
Oct 18th 21:00
Place of event: 
Galerija Kapelica