project image
Arnaud Lefebvre

first performed on October 18, 2019
Galerie Arnaud Lefebvre’s TURTLE salon @ Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris, France
performed once in 2019


Queens, NY



Painting as performance, as a time-based medium


Think of it as calligraphy or writing, which in Chinese tradition is an active, physical, and repetitive practice. Cosmic energy, or qi, comes down through the body and out through the hand and the brush. I simply eliminate the hand and the brush.

In this performance, I made a large-scale painting by dipping my shoulder into liquid paint, and then rubbing it down the side of a large canvas. Between each stroke, I crouched down into the paint, where I could center myself before reaching up and leaving another trace.

The set consisted of a large canvas (6’ x 10’) pinned to the wall and two trays of liquid paint on the floor. The viewers sat or stood just opposite, and the performance lasted thirty minutes. During that time, most of the audience took out their phones—as if they couldn’t help it—and their involvement through their cameras became part of the action. The performance itself was extremely visual and many people made their own images from it. That wasn’t planned, but it seemed spot-on with the notion of painting as time-based and ephemeral.