Penelope Thompson - 'The Elements'

photos of artist performing 'The Elements'outdoors in  Korea 2006
Penelope Thompson is an Australian contemporary artist whose work includes performance art , outdoor and indoor installation art , and interactive community art events.

Performance Art - 'The Elements, 2006'

'The Elements' was a piece of performance art that was first performed in Korea in August, 2006, for the Goryeong International Performance Art Festival. This festival was held at a former elementary school that had been transformed into an art village, in the small town of Goryeong, in central Korea.

Description of 'The Elements' performance

The title, 'The Elements', refers to fire, water, earth and air. The artist wanted to create art using these four natural elements, in a manner in harmony with the rural outdoor setting and reflecting an appreciation of the traditions of Korea.

The performance commenced with the laying out of sheets of calligraphy paper on the grass beneath an old pine tree. The artist then performed actions to connect with the elements - filling a bowl with water and aerating it with her breath, digging the earth, and lighting a candle. Penelope then painted on the paper with only water, creating designs representing the 4 elements. photo of designs left on wet paper after the surrounding dry paper had burned away in 'The Elements' performance 2006 She then struck a match and set fire to the paper which burned away, leaving only the wet elemental designs on the grass.

There is a long tradition of shamanistic rituals in Korea known as 'sanshin' or mountain spirit worship. Part of the work of Korean shamans involves drawing designs on paper which act as talismans to change energy or protect the recipient. This performance of 'The Elements' is loosely based on that tradition.
The performance was ended by the artist blowing out the candle and pouring the remaining water over her body.

You can see more photos, information and a video of the performance at Penelope's art blog: Blog entry - "Goryeong International performance Art Festival, The Elements, 2006"
posted 29/05/07 by Penelope Thompson

Links to videos and photos other performances of "The Elements"

posted 13/08/2009 by Penelope Thompson

For more information or to contact the Artist

You are welcome to contact the artist via email with questions about her work. For her current location details and a list of her previous exhibitions see Penelope's Artist's Biography and CV. For more information about specific art projects see the navigation menu at the right to go to other Performance art projects such as 'The Beauty Myth', or to see Installation art, and Community art projects.
posted 13/08/2009 by Penelope Thompson
Art evokes the mystery without which the world would not exist. Rene Magritte.