Birgit Ramsauer NO!art homepage EN | DE
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N O ! a r t
the strategic
juncture where
artistic production
and socio-cultural

I work with various media (installation, video, photography) but I see myself primarily as a performance artist, who not only aligns her own body and personality with different social environments, but also deliberately leaves behind visible traces. In the tradition of American and German Performance Art, I interfere with external contexts and mark the random remnants that other people unknowingly leave behind.

During my performances I act as a presenter and visual translator of the everyday, rather unimpressive human actions that can take place all over the world, and I often look for the active participation of the audience. As a detective would do in a crime scene, I collect evidences that allow me to initiate an analysis of the sociological and cultural context in which my actions are taking place.

I view the act of someone dropping carelessly a piece of paper onto the street as an “unconscious” performance piece (see: ART : HOME – LESS Project New York, Marseille, Moscow, Berlin). I mark this “uneventful” event and record it as a past gesture, like an archaeologist would do.  Through my performances I want to bring awareness to certain characteristics that define the inner texture of a specific social environment. By highlighting behaviours and attitudes that people may not pay attention to and take for granted, such as standing in line, entering an elevator, or sleeping, my goal is to make people conscious of their actions, and of the consequences that these may have on other people or on the environment that surrounds them, without ever criticizing them.

In the performance Walk the Wall, I temporarily marked the location where the Berlin Wall used to stand with heavy white stones.  I kept moving the stones ahead so that the contour of the wall would keep shifting forward.  Soon people started to help me moving the stones, participating actively in the work.  It felt like bringing the ghost of the Wall back amongst us and reliving history: the Wall went from being a symbol of the Cold War, with the political load that came with it, to an icon of freedom of a new-era, to an invisible ghost that is still searched for by foreign tourists and Germans alike. I feel that somehow, with this performance, I helped to materialize that ghost again, if only for the duration of the performance.

In Moving Standpoint I the three elevators of the Allianz building, in which I intervened with fluorescent tape, became the temporary venues for my performance.  For the visitors, entering these elevators meant crossing a border, unwillingly interacting with the transformed environment and with others inhabiting it.  It was interesting to analyze the response of people to this forced interaction: some loved it or were simply amused by it, some looked at the three elevators choosing the one that they liked the most before riding in it, some people seemed distressed by the new look and others probably hated it.  Some ignored it while others chose to be involved in the creative process by adding their own design with coloured tape I provided, therefore becoming part of my action and of the artwork that came out as a result.

Paris, Baskirzev Grave is a slightly different work in which the performative aspect is combined with painting a photography.  Following the story narrated by the author, I visited the various locations around Paris described in her stories where she spent time and took Polaroids of all of them.