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ABOVE: Approximating the Art of Stuart Sherman (2009) Photograph by Katrin Grögel


Approximating the Art of Stuart Sherman was a large scale research project about the late American performance artist and filmmaker Stuart Sherman (1945 – 2001). A key figure in experimental performance practices in New York, Sherman is an important (and in my opinion) an under exposed figure in the history of performance art. Described by one writer as ‘the Buster Keaton of linguistics’, Sherman is also an artist who has influenced me profoundly, with much of my own work referencing his unique approach and sensibility - in the case of my early performances, explicitly. Starting in 2006, I undertook a series of research projects that aimed to bring Sherman’s work to the wider audience that I felt it deserved. The form of this research project took several strands. Firstly, I collaborated with several artists to transcribe and re-enact Sherman’s performance works as part of the Cardiff Art in Time Festival and at the South London Gallery (2007), the Whitstable Biennale (2008), The Centre D’Art Scenic Contemporain, Lausanne, Switzerland and the Emily Harvey Gallery, New York, USA (2009). In 2010 I was commissioned by The Chelsea Theatre to re-enact Sherman's adaptation of Hamlet as part of the ‘Sacred: US Radical’ season of performance. In 2008, production began on a documentary film about Sherman’s life and works, with interviews conducted with Richard Foreman, Babette Mangolte, John Jesurun, Martha Wilson and other colleagues and friends of Sherman. In 2009, I completed a residency at Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center as a means of further developing the documentary film. The documentary was completed in 2015, and screened in New York as part of the Performa Biennale, and at venues such as the MCA in Chicago and the Tate in London.


Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg, Germany: 7.6.2013  / Trade Gallery, Nottingham, UK: 16.3.2013 / Centre for Contemporary Art, Geneva, Switzerland: 14.3.2013 / Remake Symposium, Arnolfini, Bristol, UK: 15.9.2012 / Sacred: US Radical, Chelsea Theatre, London, UK: 6.11.2010 / Performance Matters, London, UK: 6.10.2010 / After Live, Norwich Arts Centre, UK : 4.9.2010 / Action, The Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK : 29.1– 28.3 2010 / Emily Harvey Gallery, New York, USA: 4 – 6.12.2009 / Performing Presence, University of Exeter, UK: 26.3.2009 / Performance Studies International Conference (PSi#15): University of Zagreb, Croatia: 25.6.2009 / The Watermill Center, New York, USA: 7.3.2009 / Performance Saga, Arsenic Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland: 12.2.2009 / ‘Cardiff Art In Time’, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, UK: 16.3.2007 / OMSK Book Launch, South London Gallery, UK : 30.6.2007 / Whitstable Biennale, UK: 21.6.2008 / Spring Seminar Series, Roehampton University, London, UK: 22.2.2008


Documentation of this performance (as part of Performance Saga, Arsenic Centre, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2009 ) can be seen here.


A 2009 interview with Robin Deacon about Approximating the Art of Stuart Sherman can be found here.


ABOVE/RIGHT: Approximating the Art of Stuart Sherman (2009) Photographs by Katrin Grögel