Performances

Reindeer Werk and Solo. 1973 - 1981

 

Many more photos to be added - this section will be a work-in-progress. Keep tuning in.

 

From 1973 until 1981 I worked with the artist Dirk Larsen as the performance art duo 'Reindeer Werk'. We manifested our work on an international scale, through Europe, North and South America, and Australia, with solo presentations in such places as Galleria Remont Warsaw, Gallery St. Petri Lund, University of Aarhus, De Appel Amsterdam, Fodor Museum Amsterdam, Véhicule Art Montreal, CEAC Toronto, and many more, and with participation in, amongst others, Documenta 6, the Brooklyn Museum Performance series, Westkunst Köln, multitudinous performance festivals and so on........ Developing our performance work through into workshop situations (we called them Living Predictions), we also took on much guest-teaching work, in colleges and art schools in England, Canada, Germany, Belgium, Holland.

Our collaboration with Joseph Beuys during Documenta 6 led to further collaborations with Beuys' Free International University, and the establshment of our own adjunct grouping: Associates.

Our work was pure, non-theatre-based performance art, concerned with extreme non-consequential forms of behaviour, self-referential and self-agressive, and performed always in front of an audience. The sculptural qualities of the performance itself were amplified and extended through the build-up of physical tension amongst the members of the audience.

This text, from Narcisse Tordoir's exhibition at MUHKA in Antwerpen, describes our work then:

“The basis of our work is ʻBehaviouralismʼ. Conceptual art has reached a contended middle age and is no longer the driving force it used to be. Neither has concept-based Action artʼ the impetus any longer to fulfill the role of developing Actions as an art form. A tramp in the road, with his almost complete incapability in the ʻdirectional thinkingʼ used in conceptual art, has a more potent and direct effect on the people around him than a conceptual artist ever could. A tramp is someone to emulate. His swaying stance alone is a sufficient action. It is enough that he is there, ʻbeingʼ, rather than involving himself directly with an activity in order to resolve a situation, the tramp manipulates his behaviour.(...) In our performances we try to practise non-discrimination in the actions we make, and use discrimination only in the area of Behaviour. In these behavioral performances, the actions made are used only to promote or change certain aspects of our behaviour. The actions in themselves are worthless.”* - Reindeer Werk- From 1972 to 1980, the artists Thom Puckey (b. 1948, London) and Dirk Larsen (b. 1951, Copenhagen) formed the performance-duo Reindeer Work. They brought pure, non-theatrical performances to a live public, and were not averse to extreme behavior and even self-mutilation. Active audience participation was the order of the day. The artwork is no longer a representation of reality, but rather a new reality where artwork and experience coincide. These performances were entitled: 'Behaviour Workshops' and later 'Predictions'. The aim was to make people aware of their 'conditioned behavior'. This anti-conformity also translated itself on the wider platform of the punk revolution. “The basis of our work is ʻBehaviouralismʼ. Conceptual art has reached a contended middle age and is no longer the driving force it used to be. Neither has concept-based 'Action artʼ the impetus any longer to fulfill the role of developing Actions as an art form. A tramp in the road, with his almost complete incapability in the ʻdirectional thinkingʼ used in conceptual art, has a more potent and direct effect on the people around him than a conceptual artist ever could. A tramp is someone to emulate. His swaying stance alone is a sufficient action. It is enough that he is there, ʻbeingʼ, rather than involving himself directly with an activity in order to resolve a situation, the tramp manipulates his behaviour.(...) In our performances we try to practise non-discrimination in the actions we make, and use discrimination only in the area of Behaviour. In these behavioral performances, the actions made are used only to promote or change certain aspects of our behaviour. The actions in themselves are worthless.” – Thom Puckey

https://www.muhka.be/programme/detail/45-narcisse-tordoir-the-pink-spy/artist/1185-reindeer-werk-tom-puckey-dirk-larsen