Live on Facebook from the artist’s home-studio on a March afternoon, Nadège Grebmeier Forget disgorged an urgent, spontaneous, and cathectic release of maximalist body art, evoking femininity, isolation, and the mediating screens between us. She performed a kind of tarantella, a dance-and-shake for indefinite time, meant to prevent death by infamous disease.
Grebmeier Forget’s sonic backdrop comprises a repeating 127 bpm house track – “Some Kind of Game” by Against All Logic – her own typing and screenshot clicks, her breath, Spotify bumps, and ads, one of which features Justin Trudeau reminding us of our shared context – the pandemic and its accompanying attenuations to daily motion.
Like her magnetizing and frantic movements, the track doesn’t actually loop. We always hear the start of the next song on the album, before she restarts the track. She reveals: “I manually fetched Some Kind of Game and re-clicked it for some reason. It was all a little frantic.” The time passing under our quelled movements, too, has become nearly indistinguishable, while simultaneously harried under duress. She rubs foundation across her face, tries unsuccessfully to affix pieces of paper to her cheeks, slathers lipstick until her mirror no longer serves its intended purpose, then carefully attaches a magazine page, ripping out the sockets to fit her eyes.
Objects enter the frame, leave, and return, serving different roles each time, like the baby’s-breath flower she stuffs into her underwear, shakes, and retrieves to loop through her nose ring. The judder of gathering force feels exponential before her movements suddenly stop on a close-up of her torso: it’s the same view that began the performance, but her breathing has intensified. She accidentally turns off the computer, and the video ends. We’re left responding to our collective stasis: considering our bodily constraint, and all these displaced energies that we were, just a moment ago, sharing.
– Magdalena Olszanowski
Nadège Grebmeier Forget, “Some Kind of Game,” Facebook Live performance documentation, March 25, 2020. Courtesy the artist. See it on Facebook.
Artist’s bio: Circulating within Montreal’s visual and performing arts communities as an interdisciplinary artist, project coordinator, creative consultant or artistic director, Nadège Grebmeier Forget has distinguished herself through the empowered and performative manipulation of her image. With multiple festivals, exhibitions, residencies, and conferences to her credit across Canada, the US, and Europe, Grebmeier Forget is known for her durational, live, streamed, and private performances that question the labor of making and becoming; including the ways in which performance (of self or art) can be documented, shown, disseminated or exhibited. She is the first performance artist to receive the City of Montreal’s Prix Pierre-Ayot (2019), awarded in partnership with the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC).