Jeremiah Barber: If Only My Own Person
Thursday July 20, 2017 // 7-8PM
If Only My Own Person is a one-night performance presented in conjunction with Exhabitations, an installation by San Francisco-based artist Jeremiah Barber. In this endurance work, set in complete darkness, the artist bounds horizontally into the air with a paper body replica. An occasional burst of light illuminates the apex of the jump, leaving the floating after-images of levitation attempts in the eyes of the audience.
Barber makes minimalist, body-based works that dredge up the struggle of seeing the self with clarity. Artifice, trickery, and the reversal of gravity are at the heart of these works, on view in the gallery from July 18-20. In his performance work, Barber appears as a character who desires certain knowledge of the body where none can be found. In Dreamburn, (2012) Barber suspends a paper body replica above a pool of water and, lying below, sets it on fire. In Para/sel/llel/ves, (2016) fragmented paper body parts fall slowly towards the surface of a pool, soaking up water and collapsing. In these works, the performer treads the path to transcendence, but finds the vehicle of the body unreliable.
Exhabitations is inspired by an accidental discovery by Swiss neuroscientists who triggered an out-of-body experience in a patient being tested for brain tissue damage. The electrical stimulation of the brain’s temporal parietal junction provides a neurological explanation for what would otherwise be considered a mystical experience. In Exhabitations, Barber presents the body as the anchor that holds us from our dreams and visions of ourselves.
Jeremiah Barber is a visual and performance artist who studies transcendence through absurdity and humor. Tackling the impractical object and the impossible task, his performances explore the body as heroic, ephemeral, and lucid. He has created pieces for the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center, and has exhibited nationally and internationally including at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, CA, and The LAB in San Francisco. He is a former member of Marina Abramovic’s Independent Performance Group. Barber received an MFA from Stanford University, and has been a resident at the Cité Internationale de Arts in Paris, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and San Francisco's Recology. In 2015 Barber was awarded the prestigious Eureka Fellowship from the Fleishhacker Foundation. He lives in San Francisco, CA.
This work was made possible, in part, by the Franklin Furnace Fund supported by The SHS Foundation, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and general operating support from the New York State Council on the Arts.
This performance is lit by an occasional flash of light which may present the risk of seizure for those with photosensitive epilepsy.