‚Low Budget Performance Series’ is a collection of low cost but high value performances by the Swiss artist Martin Schick and his collaborators, performatively promoted throughout this prospectus designed by Mirko Winkel. By borrowing and exposing elements from the tacky shopping universe, an intersection of art & commerce is created, layering irony onto the controversial act of selling art, resp. the commodification of performances, and the performativity of commerce.
This thematic compilation consists of works which developed in various production contexts over years of continuous practice. Most of them manifested as side-effects.They are produced (some intentionally, some accidently) without an externally sourced production budget and/or combine the process of production and creation.
Following a similar intent of former productions such as X Minutes or Holiday On Stage, the act of selling forms the starting point and the production conditions are playfully embraced.
The conscious limitation of the lowest possible expense not only provokes reflections on the circumstances of contemporary performance art production (culture budget cuts, competitive festivals, international touring demands) but also claims a certain aesthetic and value system of its own. The simplicity allows for a focus on content. The idea of something “unfinished” and lacking in monetary means forces the audience, the organizer, and the artist himself, to actively experience these mostly socio-economic topics rather than consuming them as commodified art products. The effect is a beautifully staged fragility within an unspectacular setup.
He intends to experiment with his very own way of dealing with distribution by cutting out the middleman (producer). Behind that intent lies the wish to oppose the mere depiction of socio-political content and to perform politically instead; in other words to look at his own condition and the power relations that define current and future interdependencies. The ambiguity and conflicting position of a subsidized, spoiled and overpriced Swiss artist, is crucial for this performance series and is reflected in many of these works.
Finally, the catalogue itself is a performance work, that calls established values and aesthetics into question, offering another definition of quality, of value and luxury. Quality, no – Energy, yes – as Thomas Hirschhorn would put it.
+ cut out the middleman
+ proximity to programmer and audience
+ open structures inviting the given context
+ efforts for self-sufficiency
+ transparency of the selling process
+ less established and elitist art(ists)