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Xenia Perek, PC Dreams (by Xenia Perek & Arthur Guilleminot, 2021), 2022. Photo Fan Liao. Courtesy of ADA, Rome. Photo credit Roberto Apa.

[Laughter]

“People say just be yourself. Like it would be easy. It’s not.” Xenia Perek at ADA

For her second exhibition at ADA, Xenia Perek conceived  a live performance alongside an exhibition of photographs, in order to distinguish her multidisciplinary and global spirit signature, under the title The olympic sprint with the giggle laughter #1 and #2.

#2 is an exhibition of photographs showing Perek’s far reaching exploration in visual art. Perek’s work is founded as a live event, however it can be well understood in the form of photography, expressing a critical account that otherwise does not fully resonate in the case of a club or theatre. In this context, the artist can highlight the visual aspect of her “body” image building showing how she understands and views what she is doing. Photography captures the energy of her work allowing for time to be still with the eye and the memory of the viewer, participating with the image in a retrospective aspect. Her presence is the predominant element in a still photo, holding a moment in time of what was a moving image. In a sense a photograph of live art can be seen as reductive. But in Perek’s work it is an extension of what she has created, and gives us permission to experience her live body again and again. Her message is multiplied when she devotes her artistic ingenuity in the stillness of a photographic image.

The #1 is the live performance which took place in December 2021, as the first chapter of The olympic sprint with the giggle laughter. This work has been born out of the character of the golden creature who comes out from a cosmic egg. The narration comes from the succession of image after image, element after element with text and lip sync alongside a physical score. 

The following is an informal exchange between the gallerist and the artist.

 

Xenia Perek, PC Dreams (by Xenia Perek & Arthur Guilleminot, 2021), 2022. Courtesy of ADA, Rome. Photo credit Roberto Apa.

X: Ciao Carla, tutto bene! It was difficult to come back to rainy Amsterdam from Roman paradise. Here I am, writing text for a new performance. At the same time, a big part of me is there alive within ADA’s walls, the artworks. Tu come stai? 

Xenia Perek, Character study (2018), 2022. Courtesy of ADA, Rome. Photo Roberto Apa.

C: Xeniaaaa, I’m ok, a bit depressed maybe…you know it’s January, almost everyone I know is quarantined. But besides that, after the performance and opening of the show, I have to get back to the office routine…I mean we had such an intense time in the last couple of months…I’m fine anyway, it’s part of the job 🙂

Nice to hear that Rome is a paradise from an Amsterdam-based artist. I know what you mean though, I’m not from here and for many reasons I opened ADA here.

I saw about the PC Dreams replica in Amsterdam soon, two photos from it are in the show, tell me more about it…

Xenia Perek, The olympic sprint with the giggle laughter #2, 2022. Installation view at ADA, Rome. Courtesy of ADA, Rome. Photo Roberto Apa.
Xenia Perek, The olympic sprint with the giggle laughter #2, 2022. Installation view at ADA, Rome. Courtesy of ADA, Rome. Photo Roberto Apa.

X: Cara Carla, hearing that I must say we were so lucky with the performance in December and opening last Saturday! I think we created together energy and momentum despite the situation. This will speak for itself! I’m very curious about our future plans. Yes, about PC Dreams… this wild piece is a very global view into what interests me in performance art. The main idea is that a performance and dream have shared parameters, as they both “suspend” reality for the time being. I think this extends also into the exhibition we made. The same way the photographs extended my performance artwork. Also our title “The olympic sprint with the giggle laughter” came from the final character of PC Dreams, her soliloquy. But then it went on to live as something much more than part of the text because in fact it was a thought, an image, not just “text”. So the true message of that title is image based. That’s really triggering in terms of the artworks we presented. That’s something kind of timeless, and for me as a performance artist transcending time is the ultimate goal.

Tell me, how do you feel about the exhibition?

Xenia Perek, Bodybuilding contest (2020), 2022. Courtesy of ADA, Rome. Photo Roberto Apa.

C: I’m very happy with the show! The most difficult thing in this project was to transfer the energy of your live practice on a tangible and static support as a photograph. But actually I have to say that, even the visitors who never had the chance to see you performing live, can catch the emotional charge of your practice through the images. I think you can really breathe that atmosphere and see all the work behind each single shot. 

Probably the most complex thing to explain in words is that, despite the constant references in your work to the drag queen scene or to the nightlife and the theme of gender identity, those are the resources that contribute to creating your theatrical narratives. But you actually represent a flux of energy, a statue, a genderless or as you say, timeless image. Perhaps this is also why the photographic transposition was somehow natural… But in the end, this is something that doesn’t need to be explained I guess. The works speak for themselves. 

Ah, last night I went to our favourite Trastevere’s restaurant. They miss you…don’t know if they miss the “performance contest” we organised after the opening of the show though…but they miss you 🙂

Xenia Perek, The olympic sprint with the giggle laughter #1 & #2, 2021–2022, live performance and solo exhibition at ADA, Rome.

X: I am honestly happy you understand the works this way. I sometimes think I adopt an immediate bold style, but I am a second-thought type of artist, there’s a lot on my mind, behind all of that. I feel we really have started and I am seriously excited where else we will arrive, Carla!

Please tell them I will be back very soon! Can’t wait!

C: Ciao Xenia, a presto!

 

Xenia Perek (PL, 1993) is a performance artist currently based in Amsterdam where she has founded her work creating performance art pieces. Her pieces are devised from physical and mental scores located in galleries, theatres and night life venues. She uses live body with sensorial imagery for her medium, using her personal experiences of gender identity as content to create a theatrical narration. Her shows are live body-built momentums which can be seen separately or framed in photography. Perek is a part of one of the oldest Amsterdam drag queen houses, the House of Hopelezz.
ADA is a Rome-based contemporary art gallery, representing six artists. ADA was founded by Carla Chiarchiaro in September 2017 as a project space and then converted in a commercial gallery in September 2018. Its program aims to promote young artists and share a path of growth and research with them. ADA produces curatorial projects, privileging solo shows, specifically created for the gallery space. In 2019, ADA has opened its program to live performances, alternating them with about five exhibitions per season. The gallery space is located in Trastevere, a historical district in the center of Rome, that stands out in the field of international art research.