An Artworks Manifesto
1/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of sexuality. It's very important to art. Sexuality contributes very strongly to emotions and also to the state of mind, which should be explored by artists. Like art, sexuality has a very powerful impact on human beings and their bodies. Once a human body is being exposed, even in a nonsexual way, there’s a certain level of sexuality, that fills the room.
2/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of pain. Just like sexuality, it's a very strong feeling and contributes to the state of mind also. In contemporary art, it shouldn't be the only aspect of the work, because pain in its pure form can be boring to watch. But pain as a tool in performance art can be a good way to deal with this aspect. An artist should be able to deal with, to feel and to experience pain. Not only in the physical form, but also in the emotional form. From pain comes great art and if artists are not able to create, they should try to find new inspirations through pain. Pain doesn’t have to be in its pure form a piece of the performance. If there’s pain in the process of creating a piece, the aspect is already included.
3/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of body. Body is something, that is very closely connected to sexuality and pain. Every human being has one. But every body is different. Artists should be aware of their own body and be aware of its effects and the reactions to them. Artists should be able to expose their own nudity. Nudity is a great tool to explore their own body and also to explore the reactions of the audience to nudity. In contemporary art, there’s a lot of nudity, but often it is not needed. Or it tries to be scandalous. Trying to be scandalous without having a meaning for being scandalous is a bad habit and should be ignored.
4/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of the audience. It is a key element to every performance, that always has to be considered. Even if there is none. The artist should be aware of the audience and the bond it shares with the performer. This bond is something crucial to every performance and every work of art. The more intense and stronger the bond between the performer and the audience, the stronger the performance becomes. An artist should not give a fuck about what is good and bad for the audience. The audience is a group of sheeps, that needs to be lead and be given clear directions and instructions. If the audience is not able to perceive the piece in its length because of their concentration it is a flaw of the audience and not the performer. If the audience is not able to perceive a piece, because of their lack of knowledge about art or the history of the performer, it is their flaw also. An artist is not responsible for the audience‘s reaction and perception of the piece.
5/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of space. Space is something, artists are not often aware of. If the artist constructs a performance without considering the space, it takes place in, they are not taking all the aspects of the performance into account which mostly resolves in trouble or even failure. The space the performance exists in, should be very carefully considered before it takes place. The space of the performance must not be necessarily the space the performance takes place in, but the space it takes up.
6/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of time. Time is very similar to space. The artist should be always aware of the time the performance takes place at. The artist can play and work with time on its own, to slow it down, hurry it up, but to treat time alone would be boring. It is also very important to be able to clearly set the beginning and the end of the performance. Not being able to say when exactly your performance takes place is similar to not being able to talk about your own work. In order to be able to reflect on your own work it is important to know the exact timing of the performance. This should be the way performance art evolves itself. It’s similar to the modern hype of not being able to differentiate between the life of the performer and the performance itself. This is a fucked up thing, that should be stopped immediately. It’s irritating and annoying and pointless.
7/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of Self-reflexion. Self-reflexion is something many artists are not aware of. The artists work should be perceived in its own complexity. And therefore the artist should be connecting it to past work, to remind the audience of this fact. It is also very important to not see your pieces as completely closed cases. An artwork can always be reborn, remade and put in a new connection. Every artwork an artist produces stands in relation to their other work. If the audience wants to perceive an artists work, they should be aware of their other works. The audience should also try to explore every detail of the environment of the performance to understand it in its complexity.
8/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of the reflecting other artists. This is crucial. An artist should be aware of the fact that many things have already been done. So it wouldn't make sense to perform Rhytm 0 in the exact same setting as in 1974. An artist can make comments on other's work or celebrate other artists, but copying something, someone has already done is a crime and should be punished. There are many kinds of artists. Artists like musicians, actors or drag queens are just as much artists as artists in the common sense. There is no difference between me and Aquaria. We are both artists. There should be generally more respect and reflections on other artists. Also more connections to the pop culture again.
9/ Artists should include in their work the aspect of impermanence. Impermanence is something that will always be a fact that cannot be changed, which an artist should be aware of. To quote Monique Heart: „Facts are Facts.“ Some see it as a problem and pay very much attention to their pieces of work and the handling of them. I don't like this attitude. I encourage artists to throw around, burn and rip apart their work. I admire and love it, when an artwork shows the trails of time. Even if time has such an impact on the artwork, that it will be destroyed, so be it. An artist should also be able to destroy their own artwork. They don't have to, but they should be able to do so. An artwork exists not only as the material object, but also in a metaphysical state. Even if I destroy a painting, it still exists. The picture of the painting will remain in my mind. Not only it remains, but it is free like never before to change and even live on its own, being free from all the barriers of the physical state.
10/ This is the Artwork Manifesto. This manifesto is the manifesto of this artwork. This manifesto can be also seen as a rulebook for artists. Not every aspect of this manifesto has to be found in an artwork, but the more aspects the artwork has, the better it is. This manifesto may seem not as serious as it is to the main population, but that’s the same characteristic my art has. But that’s not my problem.
Otakar Skala, 2019