Brazil’s Rafael Abdala And Jessica Goes Perform At The Benaki Museum

  • Home
  • Ones to watch
  • Brazil’s Rafael Abdala And Jessica Goes Perform At The Benaki Museum

Opening on Tuesday 12th April, at the Benaki Museum in Athens as part of AS ONE, a six-week collaboration between NEON and the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) is PROTOVOULIA, a week long performance experiment brought to us by Brazil’s newest performance partnership. Co-creating, as they have coined it, is the essence of Rafael Abdala and Jessica Goes’s work.

The pair have been working together since 2014 and for them their work is not about changing art, or our perspective on it but about trying to create an environment in which the artists themselves change how they deal with, or think about, their own work. For Abdala and Goes it is about challenging others to co-create and adapt. The audience are witnesses, they participate, they shape the performers experience but they are not co-creators. Goes and Abdala consider them igniters to their larger process. What happens in that space is for the public to experience but for the performers to live with, learn from and take with them when they leave.

PROTOVOULIA will last 5 days and starts this Tuesday on the 12th with the performance “Retain and Release”. Abdala will enclose himself and Goes together in the gallery space using barbed wire. While Abdala does this, Goes will wait, forced to deal with the notion of being retained, a notion that is sure to ignite an intense personal response for her she tells me. Once enclosed the duo will attempt to get themselves out, the only thing they have with them being their white clothes. It remains to be seen if they succeed or not, but the point is not the result, the point is the painstaking process which will last a full 8 hours.

In every performance this duo will host over the 5 days, it will always, always be about the process, “process based projects” they tell me. On the 13th they have invited a group of Greek artists from all different areas of performance including dancers and singers, chosen by artist curator Paula Garcia, to join them for the 8-hour day. The performers have been told only that there will be “triggering materials” in the space, the rest is an unknown challenge that they have chosen to accept. No one can be sure what will happen, the process will adapt, some may take a leading role and some may shy away to discover or engage with their own issues and methods. Between themselves and the other Greek artists Goes and Abdala hope to co-create experiences and emotions that will live beyond these 8 hours. Surrounded by the residues of their previous performance this day promises to be eventful, inspiring and even fascinating where the levels of desire and empathy between humans are concerned.

On the 15th and 16th the duo will host workshops for the performers and the public and on the final day, the 17th, they will all perform together for the final time. The idea is to be able to witness how the days and hours they have spent performing together will change and effect their final process of interaction. Learn more here.

Keep your eyes peeled, this is just the beginning for Abdala and Goes, after Athens they take their work to Zurich for the From Nothing to Nowhere takeover at Cabaret Voltaire and then London, all a part of the Zurich meets London Project.

Pallas Kalamotusis

Pallas Kalamotusis is Collectionair’s Editor in Chief. She has an MA in Modernism in Europe from the Courtauld Insitute of art, and works closely with collectors and curators on a variety of different projects.