ferrer intimo y personal 1977 / 1994

Esther Ferrer: "Intimo y Personal", (1994 / 1977). Photograph: E. Blum

Esther Ferrer (Spain, France *1937)

Esther Ferrer 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.

The heart of "Intimo y personal", which Esther Ferrer has continued either as a solo or group performance since 1975, is the measuring of her body and the bodies of others. The uniqueness of singular, gendered bodies which elude standardized female and male ideals is contrasted with the abstraction of norms, numbers and measurements. The performance is based on an “event score” of guidelines that can be followed by other people at any time. Its openness borders on the absurd and its lack of strict directions is also surprising. As a result, "Intimo y personal"changes every time it is performed. For re.act.feminism, Esther Ferrer selected several “measurements” which not only document the performances, but also the changing body of the artist.

ferrer intimo y personal 1998

Esther Ferrer: "Intimo y Personal", MACBA (1998). Photograph: David Arguimbau

"El arte de la performance: teoría y práctica" documents her performance in Odense, Denmark, about the theory and practice of performance art. Esther Ferrer sits behind a lectern, delivering a silent lecture. The only word we can hear is "performance art".

In the performance "Se hace camino al andar", done in Lublin, Poland, Ferrer leaves the performance space and uses a role of tape to explore the city.

"Las cosas" 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.

ferrer cosas

Esther Ferrer: "Las Cosas" (2005). image copyright Esther Ferrer


In the Exhibition:

"Intimo y personal", Paris, 1977.
"Intimo y personal", MACBA, Barcelona, 1998.
"Intimo y personal", FRAC Lorraine, Metz, 2007.

In the Video Archive:

"El arte de la performance: teoría y práctica", 2001, 16:00min.
"Se hace camino al andar" (Walking is the way), 2005, 9:00min.
"Las cosas" (The Things), 2005, 19:00min.


Esther Ferrer Website
Sammlung Frac Lorraine, Metz