Esther Ferrer (*1937, Spain, France) was a member of the Spanish music and performance group ZAJ from 1967 until it dissolved in 1996. Similar to the Fluxus movement, ZAJ, which is one of Spain’s most innovative artists groups, also transformed everyday objects and actions into art. For more than forty years, Ferrer has been exploring the presence and transience of the body in (social) space in her minimalist and conceptual actions and performances. Her performances are generally designed as incomplete series which she picks up time and again, sometimes after decades, to explore the absurdity of life, which is caught between chaos and order. Together with Manolo Valdés, the Basque artist represented Spain at the Venice Biennale in 1999.
Las cosas (The Things) documents a comical performance held in Cardiff, Wales. Esther Ferrer sits with her back to the audience and puts one thing after another on her head while taking off her clothes. She then moves to another chair and sits facing the audience. She puts her clothes back on while continuing to place things on her head. The things used in the performance and which give their name to it acquire a new symbolic value through their participation in the artistic action and their corporal relationship with the artist handling them without losing their own objective, instrumental character. The artist achieves a subtle balance between artistic discourse and the material nature of the elements comprising it.
Courtesy Esther Ferrer