Rope Series: Lewis Gesner

“I use rope and string often, because it is a simple material which allows great control (few moving parts) as well as flexibility. It is a direct use as well, often when pulled tightly, giving the the most direct path to what is at the other end. To pull, to bind, to control, to suspend, these are all simple or atomic functions which use of string or rope allows an unmediated experience of. It is an obvious and simple choice for many purposes that might involve exploring rudimentary performance concerns.” – Lewis Gesner

excerpt from “Voice Throttle,”  2010  location: Nanhai Gallery, Taipei, Taiwan

This was an illustration of Gesner’s ideas concerning simple actions during a lecture.  The artist uses voice and rope to manipulate sound and mechanism.

excerpt from “Draggin,” 2006  location: KriKri festival, Gent, Belgium

Gesner lead the audience to attach string and sticks to their legs.  Together, the artist and audience walked through streets to next performance area.  The sticks served as plectrums on various street surfaces

Lewis Gesner has been presenting action and performance based work for several decades, and works internationally at various venues. Working toward simplification of means and materials, he follows a path of simple atomic art, or, irreducible matters in presentation. His lives in the US and Taiwan, and is a member of mobius artists group, presently on leave. 

Lewis Gesner @ People in Space

Lewis Gesner is an artist that has been creating surrogate performances on behalf of artists such as Boris Nieslony and Vassya Vassileva for several years. Implementing his work through People in Space was an intriguing experience, knowing that through his own practice, he often puts himself in the position that we were in. Lewis’ pieces were effortless to implement, perhaps because of this unique insight.

Lewis asked us to act as planted activators in lines, crowds, etc. He gave us a list of actions to perform. Through gesture and encouragement to imitate we were to inspire those around us to accumulate each action.

Lewis Gesner @ People in Space from The Present Tense on Vimeo.

The first action we implemented was dropping a coin repeatedly.  Inside of the Nepal Pavilion, Expo goers were attempting to throw coins into a bowl as an offering to a golden idol.  This seemed to be an appropriate site for this action since so many people already had coins in their hands, ready for participation.  Although curiosities were sparked, no one joined in this action.  Whistling, snapping fingers, and clapping hands were far more successful.  While traveling through the waiting lines of the UK and Japan Pavilions, these playful and accessible actions created a collective cacophony.

Lewis Gesner is an American artist who works across media with concentration on action  and performing, inventing simple, irreducible forms.  He presents his work  internationally, is a member of Mobius Artists Group, and has been living in Taiwan.