Ivan Civic


SHEDDING TIME is a performance that I performed every day from September 28 till October 21, 2010 in Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart. The performance took place from Tuesday till Sunday, seven to nine hours a day without breaks and interruptions. The performance is a tour de force of endurance and discipline, the longest piece I have done to date.

I am inside an installation where time shifts into a state of secondary importance. Everything we do is limited by time. This performance is also limited by time, but it does have a structure that eludes the importance of time as a dictator of our existences. It rather plays in time’s face and stretches an action of half an hour into a physical rhythmic tour de force of one entire month.

Standing between two rocks, with a hammer in one hand, the action is aimed towards a looped enactment of “ticking,” like a human clock that tries to reinvent the rhythm of time, but continuously fails, as the entire performance is limited in time itself. The real action here is my knowledge about the limitations of my actions, but despite the paradox and despite the fact that time will win against me, I move on.

The physical endurance and the focused concentrated stamina necessary to execute this performance have to be on high levels. This performance is about acknowledging our limits within time and taking on a Sisyphus activity despite all the odds. The discipline and willpower are key elements a human being can bring into a match dealt with and against time. They give a pleasant illusion that we indeed are capable of winning against the “ticking enemy.”

The moment we acknowledge this and feel comfort just for a micro second, we immediately move on and notice the bitter sweet taste of the situation: the entire action witnessed before ones eyes is, indeed, purely futile and will not change any facts. And before you know it, all this will be over and nothing will stay behind except for a thin line maybe, like a shed snake skin, inside a complex memory pattern every human being carries inside. And even this thin memory line will fade, devoured by time’s insatiable hunger.

The entire performance was filmed and directly transposed on an external hard-drive of two terabyte. 250 photos were taken each day in high resolution to document the passing of the event, as well as all highlights. Also Polaroid photos were being shot in preparation of the upcoming Polaroid book I am working on.

The performance outfit (made by Tobias Bodio) is one of a kind, hand made of organza and then dipped in melted wax. It changes in time and sheds, like a snake’s skin. The python leather shoes are custom made and reinforced on the bottom with metal to make the movement in space more precise and determined.

The stage was built to hold over a ton of weight and the two stones were personally chosen from a nearby Stuttgarter “Steinbruch” to fit the performance. The stage had hidden wheels underneath it so that the entire length of eight meters couldn be moved into different spaces as needed. The wood on the stage was chemically unprocessed and it was treated every day with perfume to create a solemn aura for visitors coming close to it. The perfume used is Chanel no. 19, a green scent, matching perfectly the scent of the wood and vibrating the sillage into a different perspective.

The performance lasted all together 168 hours.

SHEDDING TIME—The Performance Begins! Day 1 of 24!
September 29, 2010

The first day went pretty well… the three hours presentation were good—but short! Tomorrow, I will have to perform 9 (nine!!!) hours in a row and this will be no pleasure ride! Thank you P. for the photos and thank you Tobias Bodio for the amazing design and craftsmanship of my performance outfit! It is hand-made out of organza and dipped in melted wax. I am wearing an outfit that sheds like a snake’s skin… it is also heat-retaining, sticky, and grainy… it is beautiful to see and very difficult to wear as the five kilo heavy hammer is difficult to carry and to continuously lift and drop it all the time…

The shoes are rough to wear as well… python leather hard as a rock… the wooden board stage was hand-crafted to measure my needs… a trap stage in many ways… it is tricky to walk on it as it is full of holes and bumps… I have to concentrate and focus all the time… everything surrounding me is meant to make me keep awake and in control of the situation. I built a torture device that seems very pretty from the outside and very easy to do, but from the inside this cage is pure torture. So don’t you dare ask me why the hell I am doing this! Cause the answer will be short and simple!

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 2
September 29, 2010

Day two is over… eight hours of hardcore meditation, movement, and pain! My shoes are starting to hurt me. The wax is starting to peel and chip off the outfit and it is getting sticky (as planned), the five-kilo hammer is heavy as hell and I only let it go three times in eight hours… No pause! No brakes for the bathroom. No brakes for food. The entire day was filmed on an external hard drive. It is really a nasty performance. The door of the Kunstverein was open so I caught a draft and it was too cold sometimes! I will have to remedy that. The personal was not informed properly about the situation so I heard them telling all the visitors that I was rehearsing from 11:00 to 20:00… and that then the real performance would start! That was sooo sick!

I never saw such a weird misunderstanding of a performance. So at one point, when the room was empty, I actually talked for a moment with the personnel and told them that I was indeed already performing and that there were no rehearsals. At the moment I was angry about having to distract and explain, but now I can laugh about it… just another one of those things you learn along the way. You think that after more then a decade of performing you would have foreseen and experienced it all… but no… there you go… a new surprise each time! Who would have thought that somebody would actually think that a person would rehears alone for eight hours without interruptions… ha ha… anyway… this was just day two… 22 to go. Thank you Robert for the wonderful photos and for the sturdy stage.

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 3—The Auction of Intolerance
September 30, 2010

Well, day three is over and it was a long one! In the room next door to me, to my big surprise, the Kunstverein had given a space to some organization to build up a quick pseudo-exhibition for an auction coming up this weekend! So the hammering and the drilling and the chit-chatting didn’t stop all day! What a royal pain in the ass! They definitely do not know anything about respect towards silence and other people’s work. To think that one of the curators came to me on the opening night and almost threatened me by telling me that my hammer is not allowed to disturb his exhibition next door… needless to say… my hammer is not audible at all… but these people building up the exhibition in the next room… I wonder why he didn’t complain about their noises… he obviously didn’t give a shit about the difficulty to concentrate for seven hours without interruption.

So I just did my performance and decided to ignore them. All of them. I will persist in my quest to bring performance dignity and respect! No matter what the cost is! And I am doing a damn good job! Today, in fact, in order to resist the atrocious racket surrounding me, I just laid down on my stage and concentrated extremely… in silence… not moving a muscle for hours… people only then realized I was there… and would stop when passing by and would listen to the silence and would start to understand… It is a process… A long process, but I am sure it will end well! I have the power!

Well… at least the will power! ha ha. So hit me, bash me with your ignorance. Shit on me with your hate, devour me with your stupidity, and spit on me your political poison! It won’t hurt me! It will strengthen me! And I will endure! Thank you for your support!

And as for the photos… Till now I had different people photographing me each day. It is incredible how the same performance can have such different perspectives. Each photographer was given total freedom in choosing the perspectives and angles. And the results are interesting indeed! My work gets a totally new light in it with each day. Incredible how different people express their impressions in different ways! I am really obliged and very pleasantly surprised as to how multi-lateral the interpretation of the piece is! And there are still 18 days to go. Today’s photos were made by Tobias Bodio… and about him later, too! I will soon showcase into detail the performance outfit he made for me…

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 4
October 1, 2010

New day… new experience… new drama… new things I learn on the way. The performance went well. I only had to interrupt it for a few seconds… but the reason is fucked up… the auction that will take place in the Kunstverein this weekend was going to have a sort of opening this evening at six… so the organizers started placing drink tables in the room I am performing in… and needless to say, the technician working for them had absolutely no sense of distance and respect and placed the tables ten centimeters away from my stage… so I looked at the lady working at the cash register and gave her one of my “famous” I am going to strangulate someone look… and she understood immediately and made them move the tables… then all went well. Tobias came back and took the photos you see here… This is just a section. There are many more archived. As well as Polaroids. But about those later. Thanx Tobi! You are a lifesaver!!! Big support and a lot of understanding. Thank you! I am really obliged!

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 6—A Fertile Performance
October 4, 2010

Today was a weird day. It was filled with kids. There were hundreds and hundreds of people in the Kunstverein. All came to the charity art auction, taking place from 12 till 9 pm… Needless to say, some of these people were parents who were probably happy to get rid of their kids for some hours by letting them play in the middle of the bucolic scenery surrounding the Kunstverein’s grounds and premises. Only one thing to add… nobody expected a living installation of an artist in the middle of the entire happening. And needless to say, most of the people there were not at all acquainted with performance art and were not at all ready to deal with it in the proper way, if there was a proper way to deal with it in the first place.

My standing there for seven hours, surrounded by curious hyper-active kids, made me reflect upon the limits of performance art today. Those kids were all over the place, curious as hell and fascinated—like bugs are by light—by my performance. So again, needless to say, they were hanging out around me all day and this meant that they also allowed themselves to do things that usually people do not allow themselves when interacting visually with such a performance as mine is these days.

So the kids would try to touch me, my stones, would walk on my stage, and would try to ask me questions. I was irritated, but I kept cool for almost seven hours and did not react to them till the very end. In retrospect, as I am writing this text and looking at the pictures that were taken yesterday, I believe that it was a very good experience for me after all.

The pictures depicting the children reacting to the performance are amazing and are a treasure to me because there are so little documents showing interaction between extremely young audiences and performances. Usually the spaces where performances are done, are kind of hermetically sealed off and controlled, so that nobody can really cross the border of the “holy” performer… and although it does feel good to be protected as an artist performing, it is still a great thrill to open the frontiers and let the masses cover you up with their instinctive reactions.

But I also think it is wise to cross the boundaries as much as possible and interact in a way that not only we as artists allow, but to let the audience decide where their own limits are. Or in my case with the children yesterday, let a whole different generation decide to where their curiosity and innocent interest would take them.

I know kids can be bastards and evil if they want to and I know that parents can be even worse bastards and dull stupid people that can’t wait to have a couple of minutes free from their brats and hence were satisfied with the fact that their kids were entertained by me… which to them seemed to be nothing more but a silly sculpture, standing in a big light room…

I never heard so many comments like yesterday about me being real or not real. People would come close to me and try to touch me; just to be sure I was not a wax figure. This is truly amazing to me! But by the end of the day, I am happy this confrontation happened. It made me wiser and more confident that no matter who is watching you and no matter how they react to you and no matter how they interact with you, you still have to keep cool all the time and not pay attention, because the other people’s reactions tell us a lot about the times we live in and show us how the masses react and where the interests lay!

Take it as a socio cultural study if you wish and use it to your advantage because I am sure that any circumstance and situation we encounter in our and through our performances can be wisely turned into our favor! So be wise little performers! Use the negative and the apparently impossible and difficult to your own advantage! Because there is always a way!

P.S. A big thanx to the amazing ladies working in the Kunstverein at the entrance cash register. You are a great support and took great pictures!

Photos: Tanja Duszynski and Susanne Witte

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 7—The Power of Stillness
October 5, 2010

Yesterday the Kunstverein was closed. It always closes on Mondays. And there is one thing that is very hard for a performer: to jump out of the rhythm of a performance and then after one day jump back into it again. You loose so much energy built up in the days prior. You build up so much concentration and resistance, as well as, a lot of will power, and then, after a day off, it is harder than ever to get into the level you reached after a week of hard work and focus. On top of it all the Kunstverein was practically empty today. The total opposite of the overcrowded chaos from last Sunday.

But again, I had to turn it all to my advantage and I think I did a good job. I decided to take it easy and really listen to the silence and the absence of people. Except for the noise made the technicians transporting some things from time to time, the space was almost silent.

I tried hard to find a rhythm in the structure I tried building up as time went by. I rested on the wooden floor a lot because the clear wood, not processed chemically, is a great source of energy. I hammered the stones very little today, making every hammering a special event because it was so rare. The sound of the five-kilo hammer hitting the pure rocks is beautiful and pure. It also gives me an energy boost each time I hit and hear it.

In fact, it pushes my adrenalin higher and that was not what I wanted to achieve today. I wanted more stillness and peace. Tomorrow, I will try even more stillness than today. I need peace! When I actually lay down on the floor, the wood heats up so much that the wax on the outfit Tobias Bodio made starts to melt a bit and sticks lightly to the floor.

On the floor I do not move a muscle. I try to disintegrate myself and I feel no pain anymore. The limbs go numb, I loose the feeling of my body and when it’s totally gone, I feel relieved. It does look like I am resting from the outside, but it is one of the most difficult positions I have been in together with the pose of pure standing without movement.

So today, when it was time to close the Kunstverein, I was still on the floor and it was very difficult for me to start moving again and to stand up… but still, it was worth the pain because the power of stillness is indeed a drug to me!

Tobias Bodio, Tanja Duszynski, and Susanne Witte made today’s photos. Thank you guys so much for your patience and good will.

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 8—Isolation and Demo
October 6, 2010

Today was a very tough day. I really had to struggle hard to get through it. Everything hurt and I was nervous. I couldn’t really relax. Too many thoughts were running through my head. On top of it all the police entered the Kunstverein and made them block the entrance door because of a demo against nuclear energy in Germany. Then the police officers stood in the garden in front of the Kunstverein and I stood in the window with my hammer looking at them and they starred back and took my pose as a sort of provocation, thinking I was playing a power game with them… and after a little while I thought to myself: well… who am I to make them change their minds about anything at all… I will stand here as long as I please because it is what I have been doing for the past seven days and I shouldn’t get intimidated by them in any way just because they are wearing some uniforms and look like they have automatically more rights then other human beings.

What an ugly feeling! Nobody should ever be higher then anybody else! Classification is a poison! A grandma came in with a lovely granddaughter. The granny thought I was a robot. How sweet… The girls at the Kunstverein told her that I was real and she almost couldn’t believe it.

I can’t wait to go back on my wooden ship barge or cage… as you wish… tomorrow morning… It does exhaust me but it gives me a good feeling and it truly is the only time I have real time to live stress-free…

No e-mails… no facebook… no skype… no dating chats… no blogging… no mobile phone… no questions I have to answer… it is peace and the price to pay is kind of high, but it is worth it! As soon as I stop the performance at 6 p.m.… stress begins… I start talking, people start asking questions… Long lives performance isolation!

Photos: Tobias Bodio and Tanja Duszynski

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 9—Of Silence and Isolation October 7, 2010

Autumn is definitely kicking in and a strong sense of nostalgia with it. Memories of past times… I wander around a state reminiscent of good old twin peaks. The air is damp and moist. The stage I perform on is perfumed every day so by now it smells very intensely to me and especially to whom dares come close enough. The rain is like a misty foggy dampness covering and filling the air. The scent I use is a green one. It matches the texture and natural smell of the chemically untreated wood. The blend is mesmerizing.

Today was an empty day. Very few visitors and more silence then there have ever been since I started performing nine days ago. Isolation is hard when you have to perform in front of a non-existing audience. You need the audience to create energy and throw it into the room… into the space… without the audience, your efforts are triple… quadruple… and the results are invisible… you get very tired and start thinking the entire process is useless and senseless. You get tired and you want to give up.

You feel pain and frustration… and then, all of a sudden, one thing happens and it changes everything. One person enters and shows just the right amount of interest and respect and you are all of a sudden back in the game and recharged and reenergized!

This is what I live for… a moment in time that is made pure and simple through a gesture. In my case, my artistic decision and choice is to work towards a gesture through performance. When I succeed, that is the moment I know it was all worth it.

Today’s last minutes were intense. I assumed a holy pose and it made me float above myself. It was very relaxing and after 6 pm, I spoke to the ladies working in the WKV and they said that they are going to miss me when the performance ends. They said they were scared at what and who would be in their space for a month… invading their territory and making noises… and that they were pleasantly surprised at what they have seen till now.

I am also very happy to be with them and will miss them, too! That is sure! These kinds of processes bind people in time and space. After the performance is over, it is like a little death and everything changes. Time starts ticking again in a new direction and all our lives proceed and go back to what they always were and we are left with nothing but memories of what we dreamed of.

It is exhausting for me to follow up on my blog each day. Retouch and upload all the photos here and on facebook. It takes an additional two to three hours. But I feel I must do it! It is my duty towards my art! I am obliged!

The Kunstverein ladies also asked why there is no press covering my performance these days and they appealed to Akademie Schloss Solitude for the apparent lack to publicize the performance properly. I am starting to think the same slowly. Solitude should send out a press reminder and new photos of my performance, as well as, a clear text on the duration of this performance…

anyway… this is all another story…

good night my dear ones.

Photos: Tobias Bodio and Tanja Duszynski

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 10—Melting in Time—Horizontally
October 8, 2010

The days get shorter as winter approaches… and yet an hour is just the same length it always is … 60 minutes, containing 60 seconds each… what a weird way to deal with the time we have. We invented conventionalities and ways to encapsulate time and use it to an apparent advantage in our lives… In reality all we did was build a cage in which we imprisoned ourselves, clearing the way open to a very capitalistic way of life.

After the first ten days of performing SHEDDING TIME, I have made a sincere discovery… I have come to the conclusion that time changes its rhythm all the time… and this is not a word game. I feel that time is a horizontal being. It is not vertical. And it flows like a river. It flows horizontally and when we lay down; horizontally, we let it flow over us and we do not block its fluent passage. We do however block its passage when we stand up vertically. Our bodies become a rock, a block for time to fluently pass on by.

In fact, whenever I lay down in my performance, time flies by and I feel like it takes me with it and all of a sudden a day is over in the speed of light. When I stand up, however, time never seems to pass; I block its natural horizontal flow. It hammers on me wanting to pass by and it hurts, just like I hammer the rocks when I stand up.

When I lay down, there is no need to hammer the rocks because all of a sudden they are not in my way any longer… just like I am not in the way of time. I will even go further and say the craziest thing to date… and that is that I believe that when in a horizontal position we also get older slower in relation to those who are standing. This is only an idea… nothing more than a vision and a dream.

Now, most people will not be able to grasp these thoughts I am having after intensely performing each day seven hours without stop or pause. But if anyone of you would actually spend an entire day with me in the Kunstverein, you would feel the same way I do! Trust me!

I totally go into a different state of time reception when on my wooden stage and on it I experiment like a scientist, with the influence of time on my body, my soul, and me… my energy.

Photos: Tobis Bodio and Tanja Duszynski

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 11—Sunny Reverence
October 9, 2010

Today the sun was shining like a miracle. The weather was beautiful and a couple of friends passed by to see me. What can actually go better? Well… what was even better was that my girls from the WKV really took good care of me today and helped out a lot by sending my press release to different press agencies and papers around Stuttgart! Thank you so much Charlotte and Tanja.

The WKV team is really a great support and really understanding. Plus, don’t forget that they are the only ones, and I repeat: the only ones (!!!) that are there with me all the time! They see my performance from beginning to end each day!

Nobody knows what my work is about as good as they do, because they spend the whole amount of time with me in the same space and we kind of synchronize our energies.

Other than this I went into thinking more about the theory of time being horizontal rather than vertical and it is really a thought worth thinking. It’s not only that when we lay down to sleep, we think time passes by quickly because we are in a kind of knocked out state.

I lay awake during my performance. I do not sleep at all. I do close my eyes from time to time because they burn and get really dry. But still, in this hyper state of consciousness, I feel time differently then when I am standing. I see through the big glass windows how the wind blows, how the water flows in the pond in front of the Kunstverein, how the birds fly and how the leaves fall slowly off the trees.

It all has a horizontal movement… and everything tends to become flat and horizontal. I really feel time is like that, too, and that we have to change the way we relate to space and time in our society! More on this topic soon! I am developing ways to change the perception of flow of time.

Photos: Charlotte, Tanja, Tobias

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 12—“He looks incredibly real!” October 11, 2010

Day twelve is over. It was a very intense day. I had a special visitor that stayed with me the entire seven hours! This is what I call a real survivor! Thank you. The day was long and very sunny. It was also the last day before my Monday rest. The Kunstverein is closed on Mondays. So I am posting this post from my resting place. I am hidden, in a special place, away from stress and surrounded by affection! It feels good. I am not at Solitude right now… I am gone and happy for the time being.

Children came in again to see my performance today. It was funny. Kids always feel attracted to my work. They like to play around me, imitate me. They question whether or not I am real or a big doll. They want to touch me, they want to provoke me so that they can get the proof that I am real and not a fake… and then there are the elder people, the grown up people that also do not know if I am real or not… Today the funniest moment happened as an older couple leaned over me, and you can see the photos in this post, and the woman told her husband: “He looks incredibly real!”

I think this is a very interesting point in my work. The fact that I, as a real living person, have to transform myself and look as fake and plastic as possible in order for people to believe this “supposed fake” looks more real then reality. I become hyper-real in fact.

Another thing I think worth mentioning is the fact that I try to stay in one spot as long as I can, without moving a muscle and reach a state of concentration that can shift energies in the room and help others to concentrate, too. In fact, I start by positioning myself in a spot where my feet are both next to each other, really tight, then I position my hands next to my legs/thighs, and I look straightforward.

Now the trick is to not move your feet at all! Not even an inch! At one point your feet start getting numb, but they do not hurt or burn. And they will not hurt or burn as long as you do not move them even an inch! If you move them a bit, they will immediately start to feel bad and burn! So keep them still… as still as possible! At one point, after maybe 30 minutes have passed, your vision starts to feel blurry…

You stop feeling the feet and legs and you feel as if you were floating. Then your blurry vision starts defocusing all in front of you and you start seeing visions of light and you float. It’s an incredible situation!

You are performing and this implicates a constant awareness of your surrounding and especially of the people that enter the space you are performing in. You will influence them with your presence and concentration, but of course, they will indeed, influence you, too, in ways you sometimes cannot predict. Sometimes it will be pleasant and other times it will not.

Photos: Tobias Bodio, Charlotte Zolper, and Sebastian Wennemer

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—The Pause—Day 1—The Food
October 12, 2010

Due to another performance that will take place in the same space I perform in, and due to the technical difficulties that involve the set up of the other piece in my space, the staff and I have decided that it would be best to interrupt my performance for two days to allow the set-up of the other piece. This way the peace I require will not be disturbed.

So today and tomorrow I will post other things related to the performance SHEDDING TIME, like facts about the performance as well as photos from behind the scenes. I have to stay productive in these two days so that I do not lose the concentration necessary to continue with the performance to come on Thursday morning. So here is the first post of the day… I always wanted to write about what I eat when I perform for longer periods of time.

First of all, I try to find something specific and typical for the region I perform in and I try to get used to that. This is what I do in the mornings: I get a vegetable quiche and a tofu sausage. I drink water with that. Afterwards I have a small sweet treat and that is an amaranth chocolate covered snack. Then I am all set to perform for seven hours.

After I stop the performance at 6 pm, I go home and eat dinner, which consists of black bread, 500 ml of yoghurt, half an onion (big white), 1/4 of avocado, five cherry tomatoes, and low fat fresh cheese. I drink a lot of water in addition to that. That is all I eat each day.

Photos: Ivan Civic

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—The Stage before It Was a Stage
October 14, 2010

I just came back home from a long night of re-installing the stage into its original place in the Kunstverein. So in a couple of hours I will be performing again. What a blast! Here are some pictures of how the stage looked like before it became my stage.

These pictures show the proces of making it all happen. Just a quick post… more a curiosity then a lot of information. The stage was rolled back into it’s original position tonight and is all set for tomorrow’s “re-beginning.”

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 13—Cold Time Fast, Hot Time Slow
October 15, 2010

I am back! It was an odyssey… it took my nerves to painful heights… I was blocked… I couldn’t perform on Tuesday and Wednesday because of a theatre piece that had to take place in my performance space, so my stage had to be moved for two days.

Then, yesterday, my stage was built up again… just to be pulled out of the Kunstverein again yesterday morning, because another performance was going to take place in my space and this performance was going to occupy, contrary to what was told to me by the organizer, so much space that I wouldn’t be able to perform correctly any more.

To make matters worse, I went back to the Kunstverein later on that afternoon to find out that there were people looking for me, for my piece. One of them even took two hours free from work that day to see me perform and met me on the door of the Kunstverein and I felt so embarrassed to have to explain to him why my performance was cancelled that day.

BUT! ENOUGH BITTERNESS! Life is too short to be bitter. SOOOO… I am moving on! I repeat! Nothing is going to stop this bitch from doing what he believes in! No matter what the circumstances!

So, this morning I finally had my comeback and it was a good one! It’s amazing how many things change in just three days! And the days got shorter, too… and winter seems to be at the door all of a sudden… It was the coldest day to date!

I wore four shirts today… And yet… in all the shivering cold shaking I was so surprised to how quick time was flying! And here I come to the next revelation I seem to have come upon today! I feel that time is quicker when it’s cold outside! I started performing in almost summer climate and now people are all wearing winter jackets and coats. When it’s hot I feel time slowing down sooo much. It never passes. As soon as it gets colder and all seems to freeze and get slower, it’s exactly then that the diametrically opposite happens with time. It just flies by!

So there is a horizontal time that flows and is prevented from flowing naturally by our vertical behavior and posture and then there is a cold and hot time in addition to that. There is a hot horizontal time and a cold horizontal time. Or better yet… time is influenced by temperature and by light as well. But more about light and time soon!

Right now I want to say that not only bad things happened in the past days. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to introduce to you the new, beautiful member of this growing SHEDDING TIME family: Sienna Horton! You can see Sienna master her magic on the pictures taken of her and me during today’s performance. I am really looking forward to the “entire day video shoot” coming up soon!

I am also so blessed and happy to have so many friends support me from afar. You guys are sending me so much affection and love! Thank you! I never got so much positive responses to my work before and also never felt so understood like I do these days!

Tomorrow the performance continues as we go into day 14 of SHEDDING TIME.

Photos: Tobias Bodio, Tanja Duszynski, and Charlotte Zolper



SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 14—To Paint with Time on Time in Time
October 16, 2010

Today was a weird day. It was so full of new experiences. I was so busy really taking on the part of the time scientist, experimenting in my wooden lab, that I literally lost track and notion of all “social” time. So at one point the staff told me it was six and that the day was over and I was convinced it had been something like latest four o’clock!

I inserted new experimental exercises. I started scratching the stones as well as banging on them from time to time. They produce a very interesting mass of dust, which I blow off the stones sometimes. There was yet another demonstration on the streets in front of the Kunstverein today so there was a lot of noise and racket coming from the outside.

It was difficult to focus the energy inside my space because there was so much active energy outside. The protestors on the streets were loaded with adrenalin and that could be felt much inside the museum as well. The light is really fading the closer we get to winter and the rainy cloudy sky didn’t help the light stay out there longer.

I started splitting my actions in time. I would start an action and come back to it way later and further down the road of the performance process so that I guess that for a viewer to be able to follow the action happening inside my wooden laboratory, they must stay with me for several hours because one action leads to another and they are all connected but you need to spend a special amount of time in order to connect it all together and see the results I get to after a day of experimenting with an apparently invisible matter…

Time is apparently invisible. But the more time passes, the more I melt inside it and feel it as a material I can work with—like a painter can work with a canvas, oil, and brushes—I work with time and chip off bits of it and add other bits to it, I mold it into a shape I feel is gracious and vibrating. I also use time to mold time…

Time as a painter’s brush, but also time as canvas and oil… I paint with time on time in time. All that stays are mental patterns of memory a visitor has when watching me through the seven hours each day. These mental memory patterns give a certain shape if overlapped or placed next to each other and this shape is my time materialized in the subconscious.

This shape is the art piece. This shape is different from person to person because each person has a different point of view on my performance and, deep down inside, a different feel for time as well.

Photos: Tanja Duszynski

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 15—Filming Time
October 17, 2010

Today was a big day. Sienna Horton filmed the entire seven hours of my performance. She was really tough and I am impressed by her stamina, endurance and will power. Thank you so much for helping me Sienna!

I also had a special guest, visitor, and friend: Serge Le Borgne came all the way from Paris and spent two days with me in the Kunstverein. He also took some pictures of me today. Incredible how even he stoically resisted to time and stayed with me two days straight through hell on stage! Thank you Serge so much!

The day was incredible. My concentration is getting thicker day by day and the seven hours today were barely noticeable to me. I felt like they flew in a blink of an eye. My time-based research has become more attuned. I start by standing still for about one seventh of the time I have to spend in the Kunstverein. This is necessary in order for me to exit the time we are used to and enter a new perception of it: my own perception of it.

Then I check my equipment, which means the wooden floor and the hammer and the rocks… so I walk over the wooden floor and check all dents and movements that might influence my movements that day, then the hammer and its integrity and the rocks. After that is done, and it takes me another seventh of the time, I start to experiment with time. I first check my walk, and then the rocks connected to my movement, all this in vertical.

Then I shift to horizontal, I freeze and time takes over totally, then I interrupt it by standing up again, and restart observing its flow over me as I walk on my wooden laboratory. I start carving into the rock in a horizontal manner with the hammer. I use the thin side of the hammer to cut through the rock, like time would do in million of years.

I try to speed up the process and see what remains. The sound produced by scratching into the rock with the five kilo heavy hammer is similar to a cry or a moan and it is harmonic in a way. It sounds like time! This is in fact how time sounds while hitting or bumping into us as it tries to flow past us.

Actually this is how time would sound but we do not hear it because the process of it takes millions of years. By speeding up the process of time corrosion artificially, I actually manage to create the sound time makes in million of years. And this sound is audible. This is just a theory and maybe a crazy one but it seemed totally plausible to me today!

So time has a sound… Or better yet… time makes a sound as it touches us…

Photos: Tanja Duszynski, Tobias Bodio, and Serge Le Borgne

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 16—Surprise in Time, Just on Time
October 20, 2010

I was so surprised today and so incredibly touched that I cried, when I all of a sudden saw who had entered the performance space more than an hour before I could realize who it was. At one point I stared into her eyes and it was clear that Shanti Freed was there, in front of me! Flew in all the way from London to see me.

It was a great experience and the loveliest surprise I could get. She didn’t tell me she was coming. I really needed support today as I felt the end is near. Only two more days of performance to come and it will all be over forever. SHEDDING TIME will come to an end.

The closer I get to the final chapter of this new experience; I get more emotional and vulnerable. I feel more and I react more. This is why I do not bare people who claim themselves artists, and maybe even performers, entering the performance space where I have been working like a dog for six hours and just being loud in the last hour, dragging equipment around, playing music tracks on their computers, talking, not whispering and so on.

Also, you want to make a good performance and you want others to see and respect it by looking at it without too much shouting, talking, moving, racket making, and so on at least. How do you expect it to happen if you are not offering it to others?! This is the paradox of some artists. They want and want and want and see only themselves but do not understand that they are nothing and that they mean nothing and that their talents mean nothing if they do not offer the same respect they demand in return. It’s as simple as that, people. Think about it.

So I am aware that this is the end of my performance “session” and that I will not have another day of these two days left where the last hour will be peaceful, because there will be artists and technicians running around from 5 pm instead of 6 pm as was agreed on. Every artist is so full of their own self that they shit on you. I do not feel well in this environment. Show some respect for the last two days please. Thank you.

Time is getting short in the social way of seeing my performance, but it is expanding so much the way I perceive it, that I imagine it being a sort of still-stand. It seems to me that maybe real time is not moving at all. It is still, but we cannot grasp it because we move all the time and that makes us go against time. We could grasp it if we were totally still as well. Time in a loop is a time that endlessly repeats itself… right? So if it repeats itself, then it is always the same. It does not change. It stays still. It stands still.

Photos: Tanja Duszynski, Tobias Bodio, and Shanti Freed

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 17—Time to Say Goodbye
October 20, 2010

Today I want to write about tomorrow. Today I am already feeling tomorrow’s end. It is so hard for me to see a long duration piece come to an end. It is painful. It is like birth and death all-together. I am finishing the act of giving birth to a new work. Tomorrow is the last chapter of three weeks of hard work and the piece will be fulfilled. It is like a good friend leaving forever. It is the end of a time that will never come back again.

I am already feeling the post performance depression. It hurts and it makes me shiver. It feels like a life coming to an end. It was a short life. It lasted three weeks and in those three weeks it gave me pleasure and pain.

Today, after seven hours and 16 days of performance, Charlotte (from the Kunstverein) came to me to tell me that they will miss me and that the time they spent with me changed them in a way. It changed me too! A lot! I understood more about people. Charlotte passed me a question a visitor asked her when he came in today and saw me all alone in the space.

His question was: “How can Ivan perform all these days and hours when the space is almost always empty and practically nobody comes to visit him?”… My answer was simple: “If I make one person’s life in these three weeks a better one! I have fulfilled my goal.”

I told her that having her and Tanja and the other girls there was already a wonderful life experience. Tanja really took amazing pictures of me and gave me the feeling that she could always capture the exact moment that should be photographed. They all gave me life. The crazy kids jumping on my stage one day, the ignorant political curator, the lack of organization, the loving friends calling me, visiting me, and being there for me in the biggest moment of need… all this gave me life!

I didn’t even move much today. I was so still. It was that kind of stillness that one feels when one is at peace. It’s a sort of peace before death. It is a peace one feels when one is saying goodbye to all and everybody. I changed position about seven times today and struck the hammer for the last time. I hit the rock one time only.

It was to announce that tomorrow was the last day. The hammers would always hammer the amount of days left. So being tomorrow the last day, I will not announce any further day coming. This means that the hammers will stay silent. The rocks will stay silent, too. I was so still and so sad. It is such an emotional experience that it is hard for me to control.

I have seen the trees change color from green to brown in this short time and the days got shorter and the leaves are falling off… and the birds have migrated… All is getting ready for a long sleep. Peace is at hand.

There is one more form of time I haven’t spoken about yet. It is the time we hate the most. It is the time to say goodbye. It hurts and it is the form of time that we feel more then any other because it is the form closest to the heart. It makes us physically feel its power and truthfulness because we cannot do anything against it. It is stronger then all of us together. It rules upon everything and everyone. It makes kings and peasants one and the same!

Tomorrow begins the last day. It is time to say goodbye.

Photos: Tanja Duszynski, Tobias Bodio, and Charlotte Zolper

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 18—Time’s Up! Part 1of 2
October 22, 2010

Time’s up!!! The last day is over and with it a long and intense performance. The institution time has come to an end and with it the time of the performance. The moment that I fulfilled my work was the moment that the work was gone and over. It was a sad moment. We cried and I got beautiful gifts after I stepped off my wooden stage for the last time.

It was a tour de force but it was worth every second of it because I have new wonderful friends now and an expanded notion and comfort as to where my limits and boundaries are. There still is room to push them more! Seven hours performance a day for three weeks is a hard task. No brakes each day. I never stepped off that stage and the videos prove it.

The performance and the discipline it required from me were so high that at times I felt a very clear notion of what time is and I felt it as an animal (a carnivore) would smell it’s prey from a mile away… It felt as though time was all around me and I could sense it, like a hunter. I was hunting it down and trying to encapsulate it into a concept.

The three weeks lasted forever, but now they have passed and are no more. Forever is no more. Forever never was in the first place. As Carlos pointed out to me a few days ago… there is only now… all the rest is fiction. So right now the performance is over and the images that remain are pure fiction. A vision. A dream of what I thought was reality or a dream of what I thought could be reality to all of us.

There is a twist to the entire story because I did do something different then any other day. I never hammered on the rocks. I lifted my hammer 18 times and 18 times I put it down slowly. That was to announce that 18 days were over and that there was no more day to come. I would hammer on the rock to announce how many days were left. But today I was telling in retrospect, how many days have passed so no hammering was required. It was a symbol.

There are so many pictures to go through that I thought it wiser to post the first session today and go through the second one properly tomorrow. The photos are in chronological order so the second and last part of the performance will be online tomorrow.

Photos: Tanja Duszynski, Tobias Bodio, and Charlotte Zolper

SHEDDING TIME—Performance—Day 18—Time’s Up! Part 2 of 2
October 22, 201

This is it. These are the last images of the last day of the performance: SHEDDING TIME. I have decided to not show the ultimate images of the end of the performance. These pictures show the action all the way through till almost the end. The very end will remain only in the memory of the ones that were present with me in the last moments of this long experience.

The last moments were magical and need only the memory of the people to live on. No photo necessary. For those that were there and wanted to see the end, this is a special moment and it should be only theirs and mine alone. It is a gift we shared together in the end of a short life span of an artwork.

The entire piece made me understand how quick life passes by and how little we matter in the big scheme of things. We will soon all be no more and history will cover up the remaining traces in the visions and memories of our followers. From generation to generation there will be less information passed on and the older things get, the less they will have a chance to survive in social memory.

I am not even sure if what is considered classic today in art will stand a chance in the future… near and far… Each generation will bring with it a new struggle and will muscle itself in, scared it will not be strong enough to withstand the power of time and with this fear it will not care much for the damage it will cause to the past productions, in order to find its place in a decent acceptance of art history.

So I say let’s enjoy what we have now and take it all with a lot of irony and happiness. We will not be given a second chance and we will soon have no time left to do what we dream of doing. Time is running fast and sooner then we know it will have run out.

Photos: Tanja Duszynski, Tobias Bodio, and Charlotte Zolper

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