The Red Asturiana de Performance y Acción is an initiative of LABoral aimed at fostering research, reflection and performance practice in connection with the Asturian community.

Published: Mar 09, 2015

Colectivo Nel Amaro/Image: Colectivo Nel Amaro

By Laura Cano (@Via_di_uscita, La Caja Revuelta)

“Some donate their body to science, I have given it to art "

Performance Art has become a very popular artistic discipline over the last years and it is today, more than ever, when the general public is aware of some of the main representatives such as Marina Abramović. She has become an idol, even more, since she collaborated with Lady Gaga who she gave some Abramović Method lessons. The video resulting from these lessons went viral in record time.

Away from the crowds, Performance Art has been, since it became a discipline in the 1960s, separated from the institutions, taking place in intellectual environments or in public spaces with the purpose of stirring people’s conscience, to provoke passers-by. Its antecedents can be found in different poetic and drama actions carried out by futurists, dadaists and surrealists.

The performer, as Orlan rightly says, gives his body to art, thus becoming the support of the work and, putting it at its service by painting it, mutilating it, cross-dressing it, turning it into action (where the body carries out the action), into gesture. The artistic desobjectualisation of performance and that relates it to conceptual art, assumes it is an ephemeral art that cannot be held in time. Therefore, documents are essential. Both photographies and videos are the only traces left of the performance that enables us to study it, research it, enjoy it or, also, buy it or sell it. It is an art based on feelings and communication that establishes a direct and empathetic relationship with the audience.


Linked to the most transgressive and vindicative artistic movements at political and social level (good examples are the feminist performances of the 1970s by Susan Lacy, Ana Mendieta or Valie Sport, among others), performance can include several categories: happenings, body-art, behaviour art, action painting, etc, which only differ in nuances and where body and action are the common elements.

Some of the main representatives at international level are Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Yoko Ono, Gilbert and George, Charlotte Moorman or Carolee Schneemann.



The political situation of Spain during the XXth century impaired the development of certain artistic disciplines, a clear example of this is the performance. Therefore, it is no coincidence, that most Spanish nationals are widely unknown among non-experts. Nevertheless, in our country there have been and there are artists working in this discipline that are not far, by no means, of the international trends.

The main representatives would be Joan Brossa with his accions espectacle or post teatre, where he plays with the surprise and confusion caused by his actions; the members of the group Zaj, -founded in 1964 by Esther Ferrer, Juan Hidalgo and Walter Marchetti- that, even if it was created as an action music group, it included the participation of painters, poets and artists of different creative disciplines. Zaj is clearly influenced by the artist and composer John Cage and the artistic movement Fluxus; or Isidoro Valcárcel Medina who has turn his artistic activity into a lifelong career, being a socially committed artist, who stays away from the economic bubble of art. Already from the Pamplona Encounters of 1972, he starts to develop this social role of art, mainly focusing on action art, and giving the public the role of co-author. We can understand his philosophy with this sentence: “Art is a personal action that can set an example, although it can never have an exemplary value”.



In Asturias, Performance Art had a representative well-recognised at national level, Nel Amaro. Deceased in 2011, he was a visual poet, novelist, playwright and performer, member of the Academia de la Llingua Asturiana and considered one of the fathers of the Surdimientu, he also directed the magazines Sapiens and El cuélebre. An artist difficult to classify, as he himself put it:

"I think everything I do is eventually the same: drama, poetry, fiction or performances, but, of course, critics, professors, journalists and even neighbours and friends always prefer simplifying, labelling and reducing, cataloguing at the end.”


LABoral has decided to allocate a relevant role to performance in its programme and, to this end, it has supported the creation of a network devoted to fostering its theory and practice, encouraging research, reflection and collaboration among artists and managers in Asturias, and focusing on the territory as an element of identity. It is called RASPA, Red Asturiana de Performance y Acción.

The aim of this initiative is to have Asturias play a relevant role in the study of performance and its theoretical and practical development. This way the Art Centre takes the role of mediator, providing venues, collaborations and highlighting the various stakeholders of performance in Asturias, regardless of their typology. During 2015 this new network will be launched, with a programme of activities at LABoral focusing on the thematic lines that put body and performance in relation, that includes each of the stakeholders, the public interested or experts in this discipline.

Paraiso Local Creativo/Image: Fredy F.

RASPA is currently made up by several artists and collectives: Asociación del Atenéu Nel Amaro, founded with the aim of disseminating and promoting the figure of this multidisciplinary artist, as well as the study and research about him; the Colectivo Artistas Independientes (CAI), that gathers artists of any origin or creative modality with the purpose of fostering collaborative work, creation, dissemination, artistic research and education of the public, boosting the local artistic scene; and the self-managed collective artistic space Paraíso Local Creativo, that develops collaborative and multidisciplinary artistic projects.

We shoud not miss the following dates in the coming months:

- From March 7 to March 29 a series of workshops will be conducted for training on performance under the title Cuerpos, identidades y territorios. The collective Paraíso Local Creativo organises this activity aimed at promoting the understanding of performance as a tool for social and political transformation, bringing it closer to the public, creating links between the various participants and establishing joint creative processes. These workshops will be conducted by the creators Ánxel Nava, Anto Rodríguez and María Rodríguez Suárez.

- From May 4 to May 17 the IV Alencuentru con Nel Amaro will take place. LABoral and RASPA offer a one-week artistic residency in the Asturian village of Columbiel.lo, located in the surroundings of Pola de Lena. There, since 2012, thanks to the effort of relatives and friends of the artist, the Encuentros de Performances de Pola de Lena, founded by Nel Amaro and Abel Loureda in the 1990s, come back to life. During one week, creators from different artistic and geographical origins will collaborate in a collective work and, in addition, there will be exhibitions, workshops for children and teens, public performances and the presentation of a magazine, among other activities.

-From September 15 to September 30, the performer Marta Medina Álvarez will develop a residency in the premises of LABoral to further develop her project Mov. Ámate Ur.0x. This residency is organised by Colectivo de Artistas Independientes and is aimed at meeting with the various members of RASPA to jointly generate a public presentation based on the vivid experience of the piece Mov. Ámate Ur.0x. This piece will make use of all the expressive, stage and communication resources of the different types of action art, and Marta will be in charge of conducting the experience. Both the creative process and the final result will be recorded in a video that will serve as document and a tool for analysing the work.

Marta Mediana Álvarez/Image: Marta Medina Álvarez

RASPA, Red Asturiana de Performance y Acción is born in 2015. A network aimed at becoming a national reference regarding the theory and practice of Performance Art, that is already equipped with the necessary ingredients to succeed.



















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