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Performance at Exquisite Corpse

This past Saturday was the closing Reception for Exquisite Corpse,” which is curated by SIFC contributor Jenny Lam. During the closing reception, artist Caitlin Bergh gave a pretty amazing performance involving painting her body, rolling around on a canvas and then tearing that canvas apart. SIFC media director Andrew Roddewig was there to take some photographs—or as he likes to call them “Clickies.”

Caitlin’s artistic statement on the piece is as follows:

“My performance piece for the Exquisite Corpse Exhibition is an attempt to reach that intangible space between corporeality and art. I hope to demonstrate my personal (as well as our collective) frustration at how a canvas (the seemingly ideal way to immortalize the body) can never permanently capture a human form (even a canvas will inevitably meet the end for which everyone and everything is destined: decay and, ultimately, dissolution); meanwhile, the human form (the most basic and quintessential vehicle of human life) cannot convey lasting art or expression (even tattoos and haircuts are destined to rot with us in the grave). Art cannot capture the body; the body cannot capture art. This is an age-old frustration, which we can see across cultures and art forms. For example, humans have been modifying their bodies (plugging their ears, extending their necks, binding their feet and tattooing their skin) since the beginning of time. But these modifications are absorbed back into the earth when our bodies are, meaning that none of our expressions can be truly lasting.

From one basic demonstration, I hope to elicit myriad questions from audience members, and those questions will then become part of the exhibit.

1.     We will paint my body to demonstrate how a human form cannot adequately be a means for art, as it is flawed, lumpy, and impermanent.
2.     I will roll my body onto a blank canvas to demonstrate how a canvas, or any medium, cannot truly depict the human form
3.     I will puncture the canvas with scissors and then rip through it to demonstrate my frustration at the disconnect between human life and art.
4.     The audience is invited to write answers to the following question in sharpie and pin them on the board: ‘What, in your mind, is the best way in which the human form can convey art?'”

Find out more about Exquisite Corpse by visiting Jenny Lam’s blog at

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1 Response to " Performance at Exquisite Corpse "

  1. Jenny Lam says:

    This was so much fun! Caitlin and I are hooked and we’ll definitely be doing more stuff like this in the future.

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