Event Report: Annie Jael Kwan on A Stitch in Time? Situating David Medalla’s ‘Participation-Performance’ between British and Philippine Performance Art History

Fig.1  David Medalla, Socialist Art for Socialist Revolution photo-collage, published in Art and Artists, January 1973

This report, commissioned by the Tate Research Centre: Asia, is a summary of a panel organised by Eva Bentcheva, independent art historian and curator, at Tate Modern on 21 November 2016. Entitled A Stitch in Time? Situating David Medalla’s ‘Participation-Production Performances’ between British and Philippine Performance Art History, this panel formed part of Contact Points: a seminar in which participants in the 2016 Tate Research Centre: Asia Visiting Fellowship Programme presented their research projects.

Fulfilling an urgent need to highlight art histories that have been previously side-lined by institutions, Eva Bentcheva’s paper explored the significant impact which Philippines-born artist David Medalla has had on the arts in the UK and internationally. Focusing on his participatory performance art produced between 1969 and 1977, Bentcheva’s paper argued that these artworks represent a unique ‘contact point’ between different artists, media and contexts, providing a nexus from which a deeper understanding can be gained of the critical discussions that have developed regarding art and social relations since the 1990s.

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