It Was 40 Years Ago Today

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A research project devoted to uncovering and archiving the history of Performance Art in Wales.

Prosiect ymchwil i ddadorchuddio ac archifo hanes Celf Perfformio yng Nghymru.

Winner of the David Bradby TaPRA Award for Research in International Theatre and Performance 2011.

If you have any information on performance in Wales that could be of use to the project, please get in touch!

Whether you are an artist who has made performance work in Wales, or an audience member who once witnessed a performance (voluntarily or involuntarily!), we would be pleased to hear from you.
Any material will be of interest - from actual pieces of documentation to vague memories of events caught out of the corner of one's eye.
mail@performance-wales.org

Cysylltwch â ni os oes gennych unrhyw wybodaeth am berfformio yng Nghymru a allai fod o ddefnydd i'r prosiect!

Efallai eich bod yn artist sydd wedi gwneud gwaith perfformio yng Nghymru, neu'n aelod o gynulleidfa a welodd berfformiad unwaith (o'ch gwirfodd neu'n anwirfoddol!). Pwy bynnag ydych chi, hoffem glywed gennych.
Bydd unrhyw ddeunydd o ddiddordeb - o ddogfennau gwreiddiol i atgofion amwys am ddigwyddiadau a welwyd o gornel y llygad.
Mae'r manylion cyswllt wedi'u rhestru dan 'Cyswllt' yma, neu gallwch anfon e-bost i'r cyfeiriad hwn: mail@performance-wales.org

Project Director Cyfarwyddwr Prosiect: Heike Roms
Dept Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University
Adran Astudiaethau Theatr, Ffilm a Theledu Prifysgol

Contact: Professor Heike Roms
Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies
Adran Astudiaethau Theatr, Ffilm a Theledu Prifysgol
Aberystwyth University
Adeilad Parry-Williams Building
Aberystwyth SY23 3AJ,
UK phone ffon: (+44) 1970 - 621911 (direct uniongyrchol) mail@performance-wales.org

Funded by Wedi ei drawsgronni gan:
ARTS AND HUMANITIES RESEARCH COUNCIL (AHRC) (2009-2011)
(CYNGOR YMCHWIL Y CELFYDDYDAU A’R DYNIAETHAU) (2009-2011)
ARTS COUNCIL OF WALES (ACW) (2006-2008)
CYNGOR CELFYDDYDAU CYMRU (CCC) (2006-2008)
SIR DAVID HUGHES PARRY AWARD 2006, 2008
ABERYSTWYTH UNIVERSITY RESEARCH FUND (2007)

AHRC logo and link to website

Aberystwyth University Logo and link to website

Arts Council Wales logo and link to website

National Lottery Logo

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved
Hawlfraint © 2011 Cedwir pob hawl

What's Welsh for Performance? Beth yw 'performance' yn Gymraeg?

:15 events from 15 years: 1979

:1965 :1966 :1967 :1968 :1969 :1970 :1971 :1972 :1973 :1974 :1975 :1976 :1977 :1978 :1979

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Marty St James

I'LL SEE YOU

03 November - 01 December 1979

performances: 2 November 6-8pm, 11 November 12-2pm; ca 20 minutes; exhibition: 5 drawings

Llandudno: Mostyn Gallery

[An Exhibition in Two parts - of sculptures by 23 young artists living or working in Wales and chosen by Clive Adams]

[Photo: courtesy of Marty St James Archive Collection (Private)]

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Overall my performances will probably not make sense but hopefully bits or parts will make contact with you the spectator. Anything in my mind must not be considered to have been a failure just because it has not made the grade in terms of everyday common-sense.

I'LL SEE YOU ... (the title given to this piece) ... is ... a static object placed in the gallery for the minutes, hours, days and weeks of the exhibition ... (FIXED OBJECT)

I'LL SEE YOU ... is ... on certain days throughout the exhibition's duration, a day long reocurring performance will take place ... this will involve the artist's interaction with the static object ... as pre-structured (ADDED LIVE PERFORMANCE USING ARTISTS ACTIONS/ PRESENCE ...) [...]

I'LL SEE YOU ... came about as an idea through the simple interest that arose when I came across a shop window model upon approaching it i [sic!] suddenly became very much aware of how animate we are.

I'LL SEE YOU is a new piece of work ... specially prepared for this exhibition ...

(Exhibition material, Welsh Arts Council Archive)

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Heike Roms: [asks about the relationship between two strands of work – that done in social situations and that done in gallery settings]

Marty St James: I think I saw them as part of the same things really. I think the thing is about the art gallery was that it – what I determined to do and what I did do myself was that I determined to make use of the structure so I did things which I called in my own mind performance installation pieces, whereby there'd be something fixed – I'll show you some photos later – pieces like 'OXFORD' or 'I'll See You', the revolving piece you mentioned with the water, for the Welsh – what was that thing called? The Welsh sculptors show or something like that. I can't remember. It was at Chapter, then it went to Aberystwyth and then it went to Llandudno. That was where I was interested in the idea of having an object or an installation that was left in time and space and then I would come and perform with it on the hour, every hour, every so often. So there was that interaction with the object and the audience. And then there were these other types of pieces that would occur outside, as you say, in the community in that sense, that were improvised. So I was interested in the idea of structure and improvisation. And I didn't see that they were particularly different, they were just different means to get to the same ends in a sense, as such. I was happy to work in both ways. Indeed, the later work I did, throughout the eighties was very much based on that concept. [...]

HR: [Asks if MSJ had done 'Oxford' and 'I'll See You' before moving to London]

MSJ: 'The "I'll see you" piece had been done, or maybe the tail end of I'd come back from London to finish that, I think, in Llndudno [DB 1898]. Because I got a phone call from a man called Clive Adams I think his name was, I may be wrong about that, he was the curator then and he rang me up and said "You've got to come here immediately, there's a problem". What it was, was there was a brick pool of water with a statue in the middle and I'd get in the pool and do rotations. He said "there's a problem with the pool. There are creatures nesting in it. They're having babies in there. So you've got to come and…" – I think he meant midges or mosquitoes. […] So I went back to clear the buggers out because they were taking over. [...]

Also, with Cardiff, I'd learnt that, you know, I could bring a certain rigour to it as well, and I could develop other ways of making performic, sculptural pieces which were not theatrical in that sense but they were out of the plastic arts, or out of sculpture in that sense. I was intrigued by developing those ideas and developing them in different ways. By the time I got to 'I'll See You', or I'd got to 'Oxford' I'd got another thing in my mind which was I was sculpting in time, I was leaving things there in place for you to consider and then every so often I was bringing in another sensibility of time and interaction of pieces so, I was very much, and still am, on this line of what time was about. And I was very much interested in the idea which I took away from Cardiff, this idea of what time-based media could be.'

(Marty St James in conversation with Heike Roms and Rebecca Edwards, London 14 October 2010)

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For more information on the event and on its available documentation search our database.

Or listen to our oral history conversation with Marty St James.