Performance art is a place for artists to challenge themselves as well as viewers. Such challenge is precisely what I felt when I first saw one of British/German artist Laura McLardy’s performances at an opening late last year. The piece, entitled “Crossing The Room In One Step,” involved three dancers who carefully navigated their way through the gallery. Like ceremonial guards, the performers moved in a strict, orderly fashion. I remember sitting on the cold exhibition floor, my hands shoved in my pockets and the only thought in my mind other than trying to pretend that I was in a much warmer climate was: what exactly did I just see?! My curiosity over McLardy’s performance work possessed me to meet up with the Berlin-based artist to figure out exactly what her art is all about.
A Holiday Interview
For those of you not familiar with Berlin during the weeks surrounding both Christmas and New Years, there seems to be one common theme: everything shuts down. The grocery stores are abandoned, Kruezberg is a ghost town, and the majority of creatives (McLardy included) in the city embark for their hometown for the holidays. While I spent Christmas Eve in Mitte along with a few other expats, I remained in email correspondence with McLardy, whom I had only met once after the infamous performance. Between family dinners and long train rides I’d catch up with McLardy to get a closer look at her performance practice.
Like most artists, her studio practice is a place for her to focus and develop ideas. Unlike others, however, hers isn’t tied to the romantic atelier smelling of turpentine, oil paints and wood dust. McLardy’s studio can be found within social or solitary spaces: anywhere she can investigate communal models and systems. According to her, choreographies or walking patterns have many sculptural characteristics that can be traced and structured in a similar way an architect shapes a model of a building.