German artist readies to perform with folk singer

German artist readies to perform with folk singer

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
German artist readies to perform with folk singer

Jürgen Fritz will be performning with a Turkish folk singer Özgür Yalçın at his perfromance titled “Ringing a bell in a dialogue with...”. Fritz aims to reveal the devotion in Turkish folk music.

German performance artist Jürgen Fritz believes that a performance artist struggles with questions of how to express themselves during their performances.

“A performance artist deals with questions and how he or she defines himself as a human being,” he said. Performance art is a good medium to explore those questions, according to Fritz, who will perform tonight at Salt Galata in Istanbul. Fritz’s work is often closely related to music and its relation to performance art.

In his more recent work, “Ringing a bell in dialogue with…,” Fritz employs traditional musicians to perform with him. The performance piece consists of Fritz developing a performative image from the single action of ringing a bell with increasing intensity and has been performed as both a solo show and as a sort of musical dialogue with traditional folk musicians.

Fritz has performed this piece in 2008 in Bali with two gamelan players, in 2010 at the National Review of Live Art in Glasgow with six bagpipers, in 2010 with a First Nations throat singer in Toronto, in 2011 with an Italian accordion player in Rome and in the autumn of 2012 with three Alphorn musicians in Switzerland. Joining Fritz in his Istanbul performance is Turkish folk singer Özgür Yalçın.

The important thing about folk music, and the center of the artist’s focus, is the devotion and the melody, Frtiz said. According to Fritz, this dialogue between performance artist and musician gives the performance a new quality and dimension, as traditional music and performative actions meet to create a space of physical and musical exchange.

“I started in 2004-2005 when I visited Bali. I was there for an artists’ meeting. I worked with gamelan players in a religious country, surrounded by prayers, temples and musicians playing in the temples,” said Fritz, noting that it was very important to work with a traditional musician in his performances.

The bell will give a new approach to the performance, Fritz said. In fact the bell is played as a disturbing instrument. It disturbs the dialogue and opens a new dimension. Each time the performance is done a new interpretation is created.

“It is very important to show an action,” said Fritz. When Fritz is developing his performance, he deals with what the creation between two actions creates.

“It is not important for me what the musicians play. The only important thing is the action between the two musicians,” he said.

The reaction of the audience is also an important thing for Fritz as it reveals the moment and the situation.

“Performance art is the art of the situation, you always have to take into account the situation and the audience and put your action to the situation,” said Fritz, noting that the artist changes the situation with their action and the audience is part of the situation. Since first stepping into the performance art scene in 1982, Fritz has discovered many things about art, life and people. “I have worked with unemployed people in my performances and I can say that although I have worked with them in cultural projects and the question is always the same: Is work about the personality?” In his work Fritz has focused on how to make these often forgotten about people seen in society. “The basic question for me about art is ‘how the person and society [balance], how you define yourself as a human being?’ Performance art is a good medium for that [exploration]. This is not theater or dance, as a performance artist you are always reflecting yourself in relation to the moment that you are [currently] living,” Fritz said.

Istanbul audience and street performances
As part of the IPA Istanbul Festival Fritz has been holding workshops. The artist said he was amazed by the Turkish audience and finds that in street performances the audience’s reaction is a very important part of the performance. “The reaction in Istanbul is great. While in Germany during such performances we might encounter some aggressive reactions on the street, here in Istanbul people were watching in curiosity,” Fritz said.

About IPA 2012 and its program

The IPA summer camp and festival project gives participating artists a platform to share their experiences about performance art. While attendants of the summer camp will share their experiences through the performances they create during the festival, the artists will also share their knowledge with camp attendants. The festival aims to open a new dimension within Istanbul’s art scene and instigate a dialogue between performance artists and interested audiences. The accommodation sponsor of IPA 2012 is Avantgarde Hotel, which opened in May of 2010 in Istanbul’s Levent and is home to contemporary art works. The hotel also supports contemporary art events throughout the city.