body, sculpture, flesh: transformations on a sacral stool

Clarissa Rêgo’s solo performance „BLOOM“ was amongst the most radical ones seen so far at the festival – and quite literally crossed the border between performative and visual art.

From a high stool, a body is staring at you. A young woman is wearing this body, gazing at the audience that is sitting in rows that are strung together as in a church. Somewhere above the ground, one can see a body, nakedly looking down and devoting its physicality to the room. The audience will watch and listen to this woman’s body carefully for the next 45 minutes, while she is doing micro-movements.

For most of „BLOOM“, Austrian based performer Clarissa Rêgo is looking like an ancient sculpture existing at least 2.000 years from the present time. While standing on the high stool, firstly no emotions evolve on her face. But after a while, Rêgo starts stretching her face, expanding its corners in the nave. Slowly she begins to move through the silence. As time blooms, her movements evolve and become bigger, such as even raising her arm above her head.

In general, the performance BLOOM is all about Clarissa Rêgo’s bodily presence. No fancy light show, music or text is covering up her appearance. She is standing there with no persistent emotionality on her face bringing her body and her micro-movements to the audience. BLOOM is not presenting any concrete topic but confronting the audience with its own dimension of time and space. For 45 minutes, there exists solely the bareness of a body and its little movements in beetween performer Clarissa Rêgo and the audience. Rêgo’s slow, but consistent performance change her female body into a sculptural artefact and later on – when moving this body around showing the backside of it – into an impression of raw flesh. In the end of the show, Rêgo breaks the silence: While climbing (slowly) down the stool, a strong shanting bristles out of her body extending the visual impression and developing a certain, relieving feeling.

Even though Rêgo’s body was present for almost an hour, she left the audience alone watching a sculpture transform. Whereas „BLOOM“ could have created a time for introspection as one could become calm observing the persistent process of small movements evolving. The sacral setting of the show made it hard to step out of the cohesive atmosphere of a performance that is focusing on a body being exposed as an artefact. Rather, the mixture of poses and faces Rêgo performed did not merge together to strong image, emotion or atmosphere.

For most of „BLOOM“, Austrian based performer Clarissa Rêgo is looking like an ancient sculpture existing at least 2.000 years from the present time. While standing on the high stool, firstly no emotions evolve on her face. But after a while, Rêgo starts stretching her face, expanding its corners in the nave. Slowly she begins to move through the silence. As time blooms, her movements evolve and become bigger, such as even raising her arm above her head.

In general, the performance „BLOOM“ is all about Clarissa Rêgo’s bodily presence. No fancy light show, music or text is covering up her appearance. She is standing there with no persistent emotionality on her face bringing her body and her micro-movements to the audience. „BLOOM“ is not presenting any concrete topic but confronting the audience with its own dimension of time and space. For 45 minutes, there exists solely the bareness of a body and its little movements in beetween performer Clarissa Rêgo and the audience. Rêgo’s slow, but consistent performance change her female body into a sculptural artefact and later on – when moving this body around showing the backside of it – into an impression of raw flesh. In the end of the show, Rêgo breaks the silence: While climbing (slowly) down the stool, a strong shanting bristles out of her body extending the visual impression and developing a certain, relieving feeling.

Even though Rêgo’s body was present for almost an hour, she left the audience alone watching a sculpture transform. „BLOOM“ could therefore figure as a source for introspection, as one could become calm observing the persistent process of small movements evolving. But the sacral setting of the show made it hard to step out of the cohesive atmosphere of a performance that is focusing on a body being exposed as an artefact. Rather, the mixture of poses and faces Rêgo performed did not quite merge together to result in a strong image, emotion or atmosphere.

Title photo (c) Cássia Vila