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THE BENCH
above: Gosia Wlodarczak THE BENCH (2008) Performance drawing in social situation, Marking Time - International Drawing Conference @ the College of Fine Arts University of NSW, Sydney, Australia, 3 - 4 October 2008; right: THE BENCH (2008) pigment marker, acrylic, linen wrapped over a cube (residue of the performance), size 160 x 320cm.

Since 2001 I have been working on a project exploring the idea of personal space versus shared space and notions of security and personal safety. In my art practice I aim to challenge traditional ways of image making in the genre of performance drawing in which I am always physically in contact with the work (sitting, lying, leaning against, or standing on it). My work is a registry of the everyday and thus I do not work in an artist’s studio. My method of performance drawing is shaped and constructed in a home interior or a public space where life visibly goes on.

THE BENCH is a performance drawing in social situation and belongs to a series titled SHARED SPACE. In the SHARED SPACE a group of people is invited to participate. Sometimes they are people with whom I have already met, and they said yes to my invitation, other times (i.e. THE BENCH) the invitation is open to the event’s participants.

THE BENCH draws on a common sight in parks around the world where someone sits on a bench to relax/think/eat lunch... and other (a stranger) joins them. Sometimes they engage in conversation. The work investigates the communal environment and engages with the awareness, anxieties, prejudices and fears but also openness, friendship and intimacy building our social life.

THE BENCH performance was held at the International Drawing Conference 'Marking Time' the performative aspects of drawing at the College of Fine Arts University of NSW, Sydney, Australia, 3 - 4 October 2008.

The Bench Performance: The first stage of the project was a preparation of the support for interactions. It was a piece of linen created in my home/studio space. This was a background for the performance meetings, and became my and the participants shared space. At the COFA gallery the linen was wrapped over a long cube forming a long bench-like structure. During THE BENCH performance participants and I were siting on the work engaging in conversation or just sharing the space (interacting). During the interactions I drew around my and the participants bodies, and between us. This was to document/archive our time of sharing the space through the process of drawing which was synchronous to the action of talking and/or the time of just sharing the space. Drawing around another person’s body can be discomforting and requires a degree of trust, openness and willingness by the subject to share one’s personal space. The finished work becomes a linear record of a number of interactions, while the empty voids and container-like intensely drawn shapes 'imprinted' on the work reflect the presence, an outline the time experienced together. The performance was photographed in progress by Longin Sarnecki.