Following a resurgence in performance artwork as a medium in the last few years, artist Nick Mauss brought his first performance piece to Frieze London this year in collaboration with the Frieze Projects programme. Previously famed for his sculptural and paint work, Mauss created a 'living stage' in which he responded to the social and flowing aspect of Frieze as a whole by working with choreographer Kenneth Tindall of the Northern Ballet to develop a new ballet every day, accompanied by newly commissioned text and musical pieces from Kim Gordon and Juliana Huxtable, entitled 1NVERS1ONS.
Gordon, of cult band Sonic Youth, has transcended her role as a musician by exploring performance and paint in her practice, exhibiting a unique performance piece daily whilst also showing a series of paintings represented by 303 Gallery. Whilst her paintings are questionable, with Instagram users asking her to "stick to the music" as they posed by her rather arbitrary paint splatters stating "Bad Adult", "One Way Mirror" and "Cloaked Light", her performances were raw and guttural, exposing her ability to still have a dynamic stage presence. Accompanied by 5 ballet dancers from the National Youth Ballet, Kim experimented with the limitations of her guitar, alternating between spoken word and singing, as the dancers integrated with her own performance.
Kim has been an iconoclastic figure within arts and culture over the last 3 decades - from her music with Sonic Youth until their official disbandment following her and Thurston Moore's artistic and marital split in 2011, to her noise guitar project with Nace entitled Body/Head. Working with visual culture and critical theory she has established herself as a figurehead in art circles, writing for ArtForum and curating several shows for many New York based art galleries. Her presence at Frieze this year was both welcomed and well attended, with crowds flocking to the living stage in such vast numbers that it made it difficult at times for the ballet dances to conduct their performance, which seemingly pissed a lot of "serious art viewers" off.
It is always kind of questionable when a musician decides they want to be an artist, or a writer wants to be a filmmaker, or any creative tries their hand at a new cultural endeavour, however the wealth of experience and passion Kim has always brought to her scene and others has generated a genuinely poignant artistic presence. Except her paintings, they were shit.