Gina Pane, Discours mou et mat, 1975
Gina Pane
Discours mou et mat

Gina Pane (*1939 †1990, France) is one of the most important and influential body and performance artists. In her works, she investigates a new, explicitly personal, emotional and symbolic language, which she uses as a basis for establishing physical relations between her own body and different objects by performing lyrical, personal rituals. Milk and blood, white and red, fire and burns, mirrors, glass and cuts are just a few of the recurring elements in her work. The use of razorblades to make superficial cuts on skin is something closely tied to Gina Pane’s artistic practice. Through these cuts, which are always scripted into her performances, the artist transforms her body into a surface of inscriptions through which she opens herself to the out- side. Pane thus builds up an intense relationship with the ‘anaesthetised’ audience who are forced to question their own passive stance.

In this video, Gina Pane enters a gallery, dressed typically in white and wearing sunglasses. The audience, after sidestepping a motorcycle blocking the gallery entrance, is waiting. Different objects are arranged on the floor: a helmet, a pair of boxing gloves, a gold-coloured golf ball and razorblade, red and white roses, two glass mirrors on which the word “aliénation” is written (among other things) and a naked woman with blue stars on her back stretched out in the periphery. In the following six scenes, the artist slips into different roles: the protective figure of the mother, the trauma of separation at birth, the alienation of the newborn baby from its mother, as well as closeness, intimacy and desire. All the while, Pane handles the objects with a kind of poetry, lending them symbolic value through the repetition of her movements, the inclusion of music, the reading of texts and the projection of slides. MM

Performance: 28 June 1975, Galerie de Appel, Amsterdam

Courtesy Nederlands Instituut voor Mediakunst

Document media
Video, b&w, sound, 22:32 min

Issue date

roleplay, maternity, intimacy, desire