(Australia 1945 – )
Starting at dawn on 9th May 2006 and lasting for 74 hours, Mike Parr performed 'AMERIKA, performance for as long as possible, 9-12 May 2006' near the Henry Moore sculpture outside the gallery. Fasting and meditating for 24 hours a day, this vigil was a symbolic act of restitution offered to the Joseph Beuys tree. This fig tree was planted in 1984 on behalf of the great German artist Joseph Beuys as part of a project initiated in 'Documenta' 1979 to plant a thousand trees. Each of these trees was marked by a basalt column. In this case the column was accidentally removed thereby severing the tree from the Beuys project. In this performance Parr offered the guilded stump of his missing arm as an act of healing.
Parr dressed as a bride for this action acknowledged the suppressed feminine within every male while drawing on the alchemical ideas of Marcel Duchamp. His guilded stump provided another gesture towards Beuys who famously lectured a dead hare with his head covered in honey and gold leaf. In the photograph 'Best Man' Parr's bride holds the artist's dead male head in her hand while the stump of his/her arm sticks out like a reminder of the phallus further complicating this narrative of fragmented identity. In 'Primitive Gifts' Parr's bride holds a rockmelon with his features superimposed.
'AMERIKA, performance for as long as possible, 9-12 May 2006' was produced and presented by Performance Space in collaboration with the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Project Managers: Caitlin Newton-Broad and Sofie Gibson
It Design: Snow and Jasper Streit
'AMERIKA' Site Design: Estee Wah
Production Manager: Neil Simpson
Technical Manager: Richard Manner
Production Assistants: Jane Grimley and Dan Pardey
Publicity: Rosie Dennis
Make-up: Chizuko Saito
Assistant: Felizitas Parr
Initiating Curators: Tony Bond and Blair French
Art Gallery of New South Wales:
Network Operations Manager - Theo Papalimperis
IT Systems Support Officer - Adam Dunn
Audio Visual Services Manager - Laurence Hall
Audio Visual Services Coordinator - Brian Blackwell
Fran Barrett, Kate Blackmore, Hugh Boyd, James Carr, Faustina Delany, Naomi Derrick, Liam Garstang, Daniel Green, James Harney, Astra Howard, Anna Kalloudis, Daniel Kojta, Talia Linz, Rebecca Oh, Amanda Robins, Kim Robson, Kate Smith, Diana Smith, Elke Wohlfahrt
Maurice Giacche and Michael Turski
Simon Wise, Zina Kaye, Blair French, University of Sydney, Russell Emerson, Paul Green, University of New South Wales, Mark Mitchell, Alex White
Jill Sykes, Look, 'New on two', pg. 18-19, Newtown, Sep 2006, 19.