All That We Are, Is That All That We Need? The Uncomfortable Performance

Basic Space Gallery
Sep 22, 2017 9:53PM

Kenneth Saylor debuts his performance piece to open the conversation on accepting and embracing who we are, no matter our history. When we learn to love ourselves we will all become better and more compassionate.

Portland, Oregon - Saturday, September 16th, 2017.  Portland emerging scribble artist recently debuted his performance piece: All That We Are, Is That All That We Need? at Basic Space Gallery in Portland's Pearl District premier gallery district. Kenneth's primary media is ballpoint pen where he meticulously scribbles small circles in a pattern to create his imagery, usually reflecting figures and scenery. Through his, All That We Are, All That We Need exhibit, running from September 5th to October 1st, he displays his concept for accepting yourself regardless of your history and environment. "Through the power of acceptance of one's self, can we become closer to accepting each other and building better communities overall. It is about finding love for each other through accepting our own existence; not only accepting but embracing it fully." - Kenneth Saylor

Sitting Motionless... Waiting

Viewer Engaging

Detailed Shot of Performance

The performance took place over the course of two-hours, with the artist dressed only in underwear, tied to a chair, blindfolded and a wire cage he had sculpted prior, over his head. He wanted to make himself uncomfortable since he was asking for the viewers to describe theirs. Through being tied and adorned with a cage, his intention was to relate our need to restrict and limit ourselves. "We tend to think of these very distinct static boxes when nothing in life is that simple. He sat motionless for the entire performance, only ever breaking from his stillness when catching his breath through moments of tearing up.  

When viewers walked into the gallery, they were instantly met with a looping playlist of songs, for which the artist found his inspiration. There were people designated to handing out the artist's own story of rejection and his pain, to introduce the emotional dialogue between the viewers and the artist. As they moved through the gallery, they found two poems written by the artist for acceptance and loving yourself, to which he challenged the audience to write their own story and experiences on paper to be later included in an installation project to be announced at a later date.  

Left - Story. Middle - Where Do You Go?. Right - You Are Incredible

Story

Where Do you Go?

You Are Incredible

As the audience went through their own roller-coaster of emotions, they were faced with the artist positioned 'staring' at them. They were invited to then share something with the artist by writing it on his body. The writings differed from person to person as do our experiences; some read: "kill my disease" while others ranged from; "I am still here" to a drawn heart. Once the performance came to an end, the artist was cut free from his restraints, the cage lifted and his restored, a physical representation of the emotional journey we take to gain our own acceptance.

The people who had gathered in the gallery, would walk around the artist, looking at him as if he were an object, an installation; he quickly became a shared art project for the audience. There was a connection made from the gentle touch introducing a new hand on the artist's body, and the sobs overheard through lyrics while they dragged the pen over his flesh.

The artist then proceeded to give an artist talk following his performance. He covered topics about his work stylistically and conceptual and what can be expected in coming exhibits.

Thanks to local Portland artist Carrie Goolsby for reading one of the poems written by the artist, "You Are Incredible", over this video she created. Please take a moment to share in this performance.

Basic Space Gallery