THE PERFORMANCE STUDIO
The Performance Studio is a production and rehearsal space, set up by independent curator, David Thorp to provide a creative 'hub'; a free space for invited artists to experiment with and cultivate live art related activities over an extended period of time.
Based upon Thorp's longstanding interest in performance, and the burgeoning live art scene, this small-scale, process-led project places performance centre stage and offers a creative refuge, free from market driven impetuses. The Performance Studio is an inward focused undertaking, based upon low expenditure and skill trading to support its operation. It exists solely for artists to develop new projects in experimental theatre, live art and moving image without commercial agenda or public pressure, so that ideas in gestation can grow freely and unconstrained.
Live art is returning to a far more central position both in the UK and internationally as artists assert an alternative to an increasingly mainstream assimilation of artistic practice. But both curators and publicly-funded arts organisations are faced with a shrinking pool of financial resources to offer support. Grant applications are massively over subscribed and regularly funded bodies are mired in bureaucratic conditions that are anathema to artistic risk-taking.
The current economic climate is polarising the art world, creating a growing divide between the supply of art as luxury goods for those who can afford such enormously expensive art objects through the dealer system, and small-scale artist run projects. For many artists the mainstream art world has divorced itself from any philosophical 'truth' or base that once provided their inspiration.
The Performance Studio is premised on an entirely different model: an inward-looking undertaking based on low expenditure and a bartering, skill-trading system for its operation. It's a flexible, modest, independent and unashamedly idealistic operation that seeks to establish a viable option to unethical sponsorship, the fiscal-driven art market/dealer system and the public accountability demands of public funding bodies.
Until recently the studio was housed within the V22 Workspace, a vast complex of artists' studios, exhibition and event spaces, on the site of a former biscuit factory in Bemondsey, south east London. It exists not for audiences but for artists, allowing an open-ended freewheeling collective environment for the exploration of ideas with performance centre stage as an artistic discipline.