Permanent Collection is an ongoing live-action intervention, constructed around the notion of a permanent collection. The work is enacted by a group of performers who transform and re-mediate art-historical references, cultural artifacts, contexts, events, texts and gestures using only the body as a medium. Enactment is used as a performative strategy which delves into the context of specific places and institutions, moving freely between strict classifications and notions of ownership, alluding to the possibility of an embodied, commonly shared heritage. For this reason, Pelmuș envisaged a protocol of collaboration by means of linking entities and spaces as part of an effort to co-create and at the same time experience a constellation of memories, affects and knowledge: At Kunsthalle Wien, Permanent Collection is performed continuously for four hours each day. Simultaneously, a dancer will also perform Permanent Collection at the Museum of Public Transportation in Timișoara, Romania. Literally moving together. Although there is no visible link between the two spaces, the knowledge that emanates from their shared movements connects audiences from the two cities, thus opening up a territory of participation and placing the performers and public in a fluid, open-ended alliance, co-present in a time-space that is both imaginary and real.
For this iteration, Permanent Collection proposes many instances of the body as a site of resilience and agency and embodies the political idea that, while one acts alone, the act is always animated by the production of others, even if they do not share the same time or place. This new ongoing live-action intervention explores the possibility of a performative, collectively constructed permanent collection by means of a movement-based practice, which is usually associated with ephemerality. It thus challenges the dogma of the material collection and it underscores the impermanent nature of what is deemed permanent in the museum context, as this notion has been forged by Western museological conventions, partly based on the need to preserve plundered artefacts in order to establish canonical representations of world art and the history thereof.
The choice of location also reflects the artistic concept: The ongoing live-action intervention is installed in Kunsthalle Wien’s ground floor gallery and in the semi-public hallways and in-between spaces shared by several institutions and which lead to the entrance of Kunsthalle Wien. The visitors can spend as much time as they want with the work, being able to leave and to come back any time. There is no beginning and no end.
In cooperation with Kunsthalle Wien
is a Romanian artist with a background in choreography who works across different contexts, such as exhibitions, theatres and public space. He often deploys a continuous live presence and live-action interventions within the context of exhibitions, using enactment as a performative strategy. He investigates the human body as a medium and the context of specific places and institutions in order to challenge existing hierarchies and explore the body’s relationship to collective memory and the construction of history. In 2013, he represented Romania at the 55th Venice Biennale in form of a collaborative project together with Alexandra Pirici. His works have been shown in museums and biennials worldwide, notably the Kyiv Biennale, Tate Modern (London), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), Para Site, Hongkong, OFF-Biennale Budapest, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Ludwig Museum (Cologne), HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin), SALT (Istanbul), BOZAR (Brussels), Gothenburg Biennale etc. In 2019, Pelmus and Pierre Bal-Blanc curated the exhibition Collective Exhibition for a Single Body – The Private Score – Vienna 2019, which was coproduced by Kontakt Sammlung and TQW. His ongoing live action interventions are part of private and public collections. In 2012, Pelmuş was awarded the Berlin Art Prize for performing arts, two years later he received the prize for excellence from the National Dance Centre Bucharest. Manuel Pelmuş is currently a research fellow at the Academy of Fine Arts in Oslo (KHIO). He lives and works in Oslo and Bucharest.
With Elizabeth Ward, Sabina Holzer, Jack Hauser, Mzamo Nondlwana, Ezra Fieremans, Beniamin Boar & Mihai Mihalcea – A coproduction by Tanzquartier Wien and Kunsthalle Wien.
To see the performance a ticket for Kunsthalle Wien is required. Tickets can be purchased directly at Kunsthalle Wien’s box office.