Joshua Sofaer

Learning

Artist as Art

Workshop: March 2013
Tutorials: March-June 2013
Performances: June 2013

The workshop was organised by the Arts Promotion Centre in Finland Southwest Finland Regional Office. Performances took place at New Performance Festival Turku.

An abridged version of this workshop was facilitated for the Artsadmin Weekender series in London in 2015.

Six Turku-based artists, with a variety of practices, worked on performances for New Performance Festival Turku.

The Artist as Art workshop, conducted by Joshua Sofaer at Kutomo, Turku was focused on three main themes: the body, autobiography and the fantasy self to explore the diary, the confessional, the self-portrait, the signature, and the trademark, in an attempt to understand what is constituted by the ‘I’ in performance practice. After the workshop, the artists worked with Joshua in one-to-one tutorials to develop a performance for the festival.

Artists have depicted themselves since the earliest years of cultural production. Examples that survive include ancient Egyptian reliefs, although it is the 4th Century BCE Greek painter Apelles who is credited with making the first painted self-portrait. It was in the 15th Century, with the development of better and cheaper mirrors, that artists began to produce self-portraits with greater frequency, often in part, to connect their ‘person’ with their ‘skill’ in a double demonstration. In literature, there are examples that are at least as old, and today ‘autobiography’ and ‘memoir’ represents a major national interest, as a visit to any high street bookshop will prove. Many artists have seen a political imperative in the presentation of their own body or life narrative, and for those studying visual and performing arts, exploration of the autobiographical is often a rite of passage.

The participants of the Artist as Art workshop were photographer Heli Konttinen, classical singer Anneliina Koskinen, animator Elina Minn, dancer and choreographer Maija Reeta Raumanni, textile artist Anna Emilia Tolppi and visual and performance artist Jani Petteri Virta.