For the final LADA screens of 2015, we have a Ron Athey triple bill. We’ll be showing the film of ‘Sebastianne’, Ron Athey’s final performance in London before he relocated to Los Angeles; a rare screening of ‘Live Confession de Ron Athey’ by Gabriel Greeb from 1998; and a film Ron has made with Jennifer Doyle especially for this event reflecting on ‘Sebastianne’ and his time in London.
Ron Athey has been using the image of St. Sebastian in his performance work since 1990, first as short actions, then in the performances ‘Martyrs and Saints’ (1992), ‘4 Scenes In A Harsh Life’ (1994), ‘Sebastian Suspended’ (2000), ‘St./Sebastian/50’ (2012), and at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles (2014). ‘Sebastiane’ takes the image and action of martyrdom to archetypal recovery and is inspired by the religious paintings of St.Irene tending to the body of the wounded saint. The film of ‘Sebastiane’ showing on LADA Screens is from the performance as part of ‘Torture Garden: Body Probe’ at The Coronet, London April, 2015. It was performed by Ron Athey, Paul King, Mona Mock, Russell MacEwan and Sage Charles.
Live Confession de Ron Athey
This Super 8 film was made by Gabreilla Greeb at the Festival de l’Etrange, Vidéotheque de Paris. Produced by Homemade FIlms.
Jennifer Doyle in conversation with Ron Athey
A specially filmed conversation between Ron Athey and writer Jennifer Doyle. Filmed in LA for LADA Screens by Brittany Neimeth.
About LADA Screens
LADA Screens is a series of free, online screenings of seminal performance documentation, works to camera, short films/video and archival footage. It is part of Live Online, LADA’s dedicated space where you can watch short videos and films drawn from LADA’s Study Room or generated through our programmes and initiatives.
Each screening will be available to view for a limited time only, and will be launched with a live event at the White Building in Hackney Wick, London. Online art magazine, thisistomorrow will also feature the films on their website for the duration of the screenings.
LADA Screens is curated by the Live Art Development Agency (LADA). LADA is a ‘Centre for Live Art’: a knowledge centre, a production centre for programmes and publications, a research centre setting artists and ideas in motion, and an online centre for digital experimentation, representation and dissemination. More information about LADA.
Ron Athey is an iconic figure in the development of contemporary art and performance. In his frequently bloody portrayals of life, death, crisis, and fortitude in the time of AIDS, Athey calls into question the limits of artistic practice. These limits enable Athey to explore key themes including: gender, sexuality, SM and radical sex, queer activism, post-punk and industrial culture, tattooing and body modification, ritual, and religion.
He began performing at underground galleries with Rozz Williams in 1981, in a collaboration known as Premature Ejaculation. In 1992 he began staging what was to become a performance “torture” trilogy: Martyrs & Saints, 4 Scenes In A Harsh Life, and Deliverance. Subsequent works in the new millennium include Judas Cradle, Self-Obliteration, and Gifts of the Spirit:Automatic Writing in which he explores his Pentacostal upbringing and the creation of an ecstatic experience. Additionally, Athey works in visual arts, journalism, and in 2013 celebrated the release of the first publication dedicated to his life and work: “Pleading in the Blood: The Art and Performance of Ron Athey”, edited by Dominic Johnson.
“Ron Athey forces the body to transcend it’s confines. His brilliance manifests as exorcism not only of, and for, the cauterizing of his own pain, but by pushing the boundaries of endurance through artistic expression, he shares his compassionate epiphany: We all need to break free from the shackles placed upon the individual by society, family, religion and gender. And possibly through the catharsis of performance, and ritual, we might finally be able to lay to rest the demons who’ve sent us in search of the respite only a knife or needle could at one time provide.” - Lydia Lunch
“In his bloody self-obliterations, Ron Athey reveals the profound enigma of the body as a primary location of SELF. His flesh is a source of Life and a source of Death. Athey creates vital images drenched with human violence; his blood is spilled to placate our fear of the unknown and of mortality. Yet his performances are also implicit celebrations.” - Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE