Macabre underground clubs, Extreme Gender Art and Kyrahm

Written by Aleksandras Rimdžius

Who is this attract­ive woman, hid­ing behind a strange pseud­onym of Kyrahm Mutazioni Profane or just Kyrahm? Interesting, cour­ageous, pro­voc­at­ive – a bit more than just a con­cep­tual art per­former from Rome’s under­ground. The essence of her art comes from extremely abstract, exist­ing on the edges of art post – porn, body – art cul­ture also from sources from and repro­duced mean­ings of spe­cific con­texts (such as reli­gion and mythology).

A cer­tain key, let­ting us under­stand the essence of this art bet­ter, can be the fin­ished com­mu­nic­a­tion stud­ies and her thesis on art trans­form­a­tion in the era of com­puter advance­ment. We could prob­ably call her one of dis­tinct fol­low­ers of the fam­ous Marshall McLuhan and his state­ment that any media is, at the same time, inform­a­tion in itself (The Medium is the Message). In 1999, when she was 19 years old, she became the win­ner of Mythos com­pet­i­tion as the best in the con­cep­tual art cat­egory. She is act­ively par­ti­cip­at­ing gal­lery activ­ity in Italy, she is a stu­dent and a co-​worker of sculptor Dominico Pesce. In 2007, she meets the chamele­onic per­former of Drag King per­form­ances (on this occa­sion – women, who are trans­form­ing into men, in Drag Queen’s case – men into women) Julius Kaiser. Together these women began an era of col­lab­or­a­tion and exper­i­ment­ing, the devel­op­ment of artist’s speech, game of install­a­tions, play­ing with gender roles and imit­a­tion of their unavoid­able tragedy of their rela­tion­ship, as well as the organ­iz­a­tion of exper­i­mental performances.

The first fruit of their col­lab­or­a­tion – a per­form­ance “Obsolescence of the Kind”. In 2008, this work was in top 30, formed annu­ally by US art explorers and art crit­ics, of the best gender prob­lem­atic reflect­ing per­form­ances in the world. After a year, this tan­dem suc­cess­fully per­formed in a con­tem­por­ary art exhib­i­tion “The Thread of Ariadne”.

This is the formal part, now let’s go a bit deeper.

In the eternal city, to which all the world’s roads lead to; in the city, where there is a chim­ney that can draw the atten­tion of mil­lions of Christians. Beneath this sur­face, from first sight with their own goal, dark and macabre under­ground clubs. One of them – Extreem Gender Art move­ment, to which our article’s her­oes belong to. The begin­ning of this phe­nomenon – 2008, its main accent – search of new artistic expres­sions (devot­ing spe­cial atten­tion to the poten­tially cen­sored ones) and exper­i­mental music workshops.

Whilst cre­at­ing, these artists fol­low a prin­ciple that everything in their art that is hap­pen­ing has really to hap­pen: real blood, bod­ies and their wounds. It is like a whiff of fresh air, refresh­ing things that, as it would seem, have already become self – explan­at­ory – such as sac­ral­ity and gender. Off course, when talk­ing about this, we all can quote the first para­graph Wikipedia level defin­i­tions and they will be com­pletely cor­rect, on the other hand, does any­thing can be more of an obstruc­tion to under­stand some­thing deeper than the dic­tate of abso­lute cor­rect­ness? And to us this is espe­cially rel­ev­ant, we are liv­ing in the time of vast social changes and it seems, whether we want it or not, but we have to overthink the con­cepts of genders, get rid of slow­ing factors and ste­reo­types. Moreover, loudly talk­ing minor­it­ies encour­age a value con­flict — gay pro­ces­sions, the fam­ous gender loops pro­gram. Unavoidable changes prob­ably can be harmful.

Probably the most impress­ive Kyrahm’s work – trip­tych “Human install­a­tions” that in the end of last year, in New York, won the Celeste prize. It’s like the essence of the move­ment and artists’ (Ron Athey, Franco B, Annie Sprinkle, Stelarc…) pieces in itself absorbed cloth.

In the first part of “Gender obsol­es­cence” the prob­lem­atic of trans­form­a­tion, muta­tion, meta­morph­osis is being emphas­ised. In this piece, as much as in any other works, the creator’s tend­ency to take over cer­tain expres­sion forms of theater, to reduce them and to use in her own way is clear. Here, gender is looked at not as a given or con­stant but as daily cre­ated new real­ity. Man and woman – their essence and masks. The trans – sexu­al­ity, the gender change to trans – sexual is not an act of becom­ing, it’s more an act of going back, dis­cov­er­ing of your true self


Another sim­ilar, with con­stant move­ment asso­ci­ated per­form­ance is “Ingemisco”(it. Moan, a term often used in music). Its essence is woman­hood and what a woman has to go through on the road to social recog­ni­tion. Here, Kyrahm is like from its mol­lusk escaped Botticeli’s Venus, “dressed” in white roses and till blood stuck needles, it’s not a paint­ing any­more, it’s a real, life human being. Opera’s soloist’s Sergio Panajia’s per­formed Verdi’s Requiem not only reflects her pain step­ping towards the dreamed ideal but also the given flowers reflect, maybe at least the naive, self – deception.

It’s not a very ori­ginal form of expres­sion: Franco B in his fam­ous per­form­ance “I miss You” walked around naked with bloody feet, Gina Pane tried to present her mes­sage by climb­ing a razor blade seasoned lad­der, I remembered that recently I walked on CAC Belarusian artists’ road inscribed with small humps and had the pleas­ure to exper­i­ence what shoes with heals wear­ing women exper­i­ence every day, as well as con­text: for example Carolee Schneemann does not avoid observing his body in the con­text of other (social) bod­ies and artist and rock music per­former Kembra Pfahler expressed her protest against con­ser­vat­ive, human needs in soci­ety bind­ing norms… by sow­ing up her labia.

In the triptych’s last, third part of “Sacrifice”, a pain­fully famil­iar story of God’s son is repeated.

It’s like sym­bi­osis of body – art and Christian Iconographic (there is really a blood cry­ing statue of Saint Mary in USA Sacramento, California state). In this per­form­ance, in which Bloody Circus band is also par­ti­cip­at­ing, everything is real: blood, needles, cru­ci­fix­ion and the moment, dur­ing which blood cry­ing Kyrahm attains the sac­ral dimen­sion and ‘Jesus’ becomes a simple mor­tal. It’s an act of wash­ing away all the evil known to man — sick­ness, wars, homo­pho­bia. This work is an oddish trib­ute to HIV infec­ted per­form­ance artist R. Athey and with envir­on­ment pol­lu­tion and homo­pho­bia bat­tling Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens.

Whilst think­ing about the ethic and aes­thetic legit­im­a­tion of such act, about whether a line had not been crossed whilst screw­ing around, I remembered the fam­ous Valie Export and her mas­ter­piece “Remote…remote”.

Blood and milk is a deep in cul­tural con­scious­ness etched image elast­ic­ally rel­at­ive to risk: from one side, because of non­sense forced actions it can gather some danger, signs of dirti­ness (I, myself, heard a story about pus infec­ted and dirty milk in soviet col­lect­ive farms), on the other hand, the act is per­formed con­sciously and with a cer­tain inten­tion (not to infect someone, of course), prob­ably, to reach some pur­ga­tion, also it’s a very self­less, intim­ate act: even scald­ing can be help­less against an infection.

Risk, it’s, prob­ably, what affects us the most. It’s doubt­ful that in face stuck needles could not cause any emo­tion. We are liv­ing in an act­ively viol­ence con­sum­ing soci­ety and we are get­ting more and more tol­er­ant towards it: you won’t impact audi­ence with some not real viol­ence. I think that from a moral point of view such art is sim­ilar to wounded anim­als’ images, painted in Lascaux caves in France, Francisco Guera’s War dis­asters (Los Desastres de la Guera) or a shot to Chris Burden’s arm in an art gallery.

Before the trip­tych, Kyrahm locked her­self in a coffin – canon for thirty hours. Her basic needs were sup­plied by her mother. This act tells about the hustled mis­com­mu­nic­a­tion between a daugh­ter and a mother, at the same time alert­ing about the dangers of clos­ing your­self from other people. The tri­vi­al­ity of com­mu­nic­a­tion is reflec­ted by a dia­logue of these two women:

- Are you dead or just sleeping?

- I’m alive, don’t you hear that I’m breathing?

- I thought – it’s only the wind soughing.

Maybe this per­form­ance tries to show, even if ridicu­lously, that we should tack between the right to pri­vacy and inter – human val­ues very carefully.

How could we sum­mar­ize the work of this artist? We can notice the unavoid­ab­il­ity of an impossible, unstrung, deceit­ful com­mu­nic­a­tion in all of her per­form­ances: by gender dic­tate men and women, dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions and their top­ic­al­it­ies rep­res­ent­ing fam­ily mem­bers and even not look­ing to one another per­son­i­fic­a­tions of the Saints. Every fig­ure rep­res­ents either a joint or a sep­ar­ate – con­trary pole. These are per­form­ances of mono­logues, not dia­logues. On the other hand, the emo­tional rela­tion, human­ity and the sen­sa­tion of the other (maybe even not known to him) is always there. It’s like deeply hid­den but talk­ing to us, with little drops of blood from the cry of wounded souls, tra­gedies of a lost but not giv­ing up man.

You can find more inform­a­tion here.

About author:
Art Pit Guest
Art Pit Guest profile is dedicated for all our new writers, artists and people. Each of them gets his personal profile after he successfully has submitted 3 articles or projects to us. If we accept it, one gains individual profile with bio, picture and badges. However, we promote even new people who just joined our community, adding them to this c... Read further >
This entry was posted in Performing Arts
Your Comments Go Here Read it - Spill it
If you dear