DENIS MASI 1968-1972
Denis Masi 1968-1972, curated by Andrée Cookeand Dan Edwards, is a segment of works which celebrates some of Masi’s most significant performance and photographic pieces from that period.
In 1968 Denis Masi started presenting himself in his pieces as the subject, using his body as material for creating art works, during which time Body Art became an international trend. Throughout Masi’s career he has been drawn to the subject of performance and the theatrical, whether in the form of photographic ‘private’ and public performance or extending this into large-scale installations. ‘Performance is not (and never was) a medium, not something that an artwork can be, but rather a set of questions and concerns about how art relates to people and the wider social world’, (Jonah Westerman, 2016, tate.org.uk/performance- art). Indeed, Masi’s works question these roles.
His 1970s performances, or ‘body-works’ were primarily to camera, in which he explored psychological and physical ways of being, both alone and in relation to another person. His 1970s performance pieces, underpin recurrent ideas throughout Masi’s later career, which continues to demonstrate an interest in the shared human experience of questioning and resisting.
Masi’s artwork and reputation from the 1960s to the 1980s became affiliated with the artistic movements in Europe of that time, and with the genres of Performance and Installation Art. As testament to his significance Masi’s pieces were exhibited in solo presentations in England at Camden Arts Centre (1969), The Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol (1976), ICA (1979 and 1984), and The Serpentine Gallery (1988).
The exhibition is at Darbyshire London, N1 from 26th April to 27th July 2017, viewing by appointment only.