~Written by Eliott Edge
This Saturday, New York City born and raised artist Michael Alan will performing in solidarity with the occupation of Liberty Square at Judson Church entrance 55 Washington Square South.
No stranger to usurping public spaces or crossing the line between life and art, Alan will be projecting the accumulated of footage of seven year’s worth of avant-garde performances/ installations.
The footage is taken from “Occupy Yourself” a film about change, the limits of freedom, and acts as a general attack on fear. One of Alan’s established methods is working with the human body, metamorphosing it into a living, breathing art installation. Through intricate connections and juxtapositions in the guise of random chaos, Alan takes simple materials such as masks, multiple textures, stolen objects, and cut-up drawings then rearranges and remixes them onto his friends turned art activists with a dose of glue-sprayed flesh. Alan’s artistic expression is a direct response to a confusing, uncertain, downtrodden, and monochromatic world. He states, “We are more than property. We are more than buildings. We are part of Life. Living, breathing potential fire. With the ability to do anything. This is about people, not about businesses, faceless corporations or technology.”
Alan’s work is not only a sensory pleasure to absorb, but it leaves one with inspiration—indeed the true crux of art; the Promethean torch relay. This torch is very real here and passed along through performance pieces. Originally his street stunts and performances brought together artists that were all too happy to publicly strip-down and take upon roles, characters, and patterns of motion that were captured on sketch pads, canvas, and film by a rapt audience. The backdrop and tone changed with every performance spanning themes from exorcism, to corporate drudgery, to Alice in Wonderland. Music always accompanied, often live. Here Alan’s art makes more art—a kind of animated invitation to the community to explore their own unfettered creative instincts. More recently, the “Living Instillation” has takes these nude performers and transforms them into breathing sculptures of shape and nuisance, but again, they’re alive. “I’m talking to our civilization, a controlling force; we are heavily influenced by endless tirades of nothings. Nothings. Objects, art, propaganda, business filled with nothing—All I can do is try my hardest to make a visual change.”
Alan’s art is neither a single piece nor a single medium. It’s an open-ended, ongoing evolution that often blurs between the collaborative and the solitary. His work becomes public, then private, then back to public. It is as if a single work is transforming from painting, to living sculpture, to music, to gesture, and back to painting. Material used on a performer will later end up glued to a canvas. Seeing one of his works or performances begins to feel like a fleeting glance into the window of a gargantuan, organic locomotive. “The main focus,” he states, “Is with change. By showing change I address all of the above and alter the image. If everything is changing than the image should not stay the same.” The works have no beginning nor end as they bleed-through from medium to medium and place to place, yet remain self-contained monuments to a new avant-garde in their own right.