project image
Joeri Thiry, STUK

first performed on June 3, 2016
The Performance Bar @ WORM, Rotterdam, Netherlands
performed three times in 2016


Rotterdam, Netherlands / Bucharest, Rotterdam


“Art History Aerobics” is a performance piece framed as a demonstrative aerobics session. The content is inspired by the art history timeline and its defining movements and visual expressions.

The performance began in a cave in the Stone Age and progressed chronologically until it reached contemporaneity, continuing to speculate upon the future of art. I, as a female performer, embodied images generated by the Eurocentric history of art, and explore these visual characteristics on a bodily level. I was interested in emphasising the transformations that have occurred in the perception of the human body throughout time—from being equal to other living creatures to becoming superior, deformed, adored, gracious, exploited, geometric, forgotten, reclaimed, abstracted, idealised, etc.

The piece was performed on an empty stage. I was simultaneously an aerobic instructor and a storyteller. I used my voice to mark the transitions between historical periods, and my body for illustrating and emphasising different states of historical representations, questioning the role and use of images throughout history.

Overall, my aim with this performance was to create an alternative, subjective bodily knowledge of a visual history which is otherwise too loaded and too abstract to be fully understood. Even if the performance does not involve direct participation, it nonetheless requires the engagement of the audience in terms of using their imagination and visual references for completing the setting, and for expanding the meaning of the piece.

The performance can be performed either alone or with two male performers.