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Matrix 201d: Catherine Sullivan

Performance at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 16, 2003

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is pleased to present a performance work by Los Angeles-based artist Catherine Sullivan. Sullivan, who first trained as an actor, creates multi-media performance works that explore the construction of meaning through a variety of performance techniques. Her performance at BAM/PFA will take place in the museum lobby at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, 2003.

MATRIX 201d: Catherine Sullivan is curated by Nicholas Baume, Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Connecticut. Her performance at BAM/PFA is the fourth in the miniMATRIX series of small-scale, single work exhibitions by contemporary artists. Other artists featured in this series were Dean Smith, Tony Feher, and Cerith Wyn Evans.

Catherine Sullivan's performance works diverge from the dominant trends that have recently emerged in American performance art. Rather than using performance as an autobiographical, artist-as-performer mode of self-expression, Sullivan instead collaborates with actors, musicians, and other performers in creating her work. In her live and filmed performances, the dramatic processes employed by actors to re-create a scene is itself the spectacle on display. Sullivan's work examines the ways in which the meaning of a particular scene, moment, or gesture changes according to the style or mode in which it is choreographed and performed.

MATRIX 201d Catherine Sullivan will feature one part of the Audimax Project, a series of related but distinct performances to take place in Hartford, Connecticut; Berkeley; and Dijon, France. Audimax is the name of the theater at the Technical Academy in Aachen, Germany, where the legendary Festival of New Art took place in 1964. The festival was an evening of Fluxus performance featuring twelve artists including Joseph Beuys. Its notoriety is due largely to the violent reaction of the conservative student audience, captured in a famous photograph of the bloodied Beuys saluting and taunting the audience with a crucifix. Sullivan sees this event as archetypical of the avant-garde in its powerful disruption of conventional boundaries. Nearly forty years later, in our age of narrative realism in art, Sullivan proposes to investigate "the social nature of the performative gesture." How, she asks, can the artifice of performance yield moments of discomfort and transgression, where the boundary between audience and performer once again exceeds its conventional limits?

Catherine Sullivan began her work in the theater as an actress. In 1992 she received a BFA in Acting from California Institute of the Arts, and in 1997 received her MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Los Angeles. Her performance work has been presented at independent venues in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and at Trapdoor Theater in Chicago, Illinois.
MATRIX 201d Catherine Sullivan will take place in the museum lobby at 3 p.m., Sunday, March 16, 2003.