Kym Ward

[Advert for Affect, installation detail; Market Research - Because no body is predictable]

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Market Research - Because no body is predictable, 2012

Installation, performance (mixed media), 20 minute focus group sessions, Dimensions Variable

NFS

The performance took the form of a market research focus group; a group that can be conducted to, say, gather reactions to a consumable, or evaluate the reception of an advert. In this case, the focus was on the 'art product', a gold painted hand set in the middle of a shiny black table. A hand in a resting pose. A hand that inadvertently twitched from time to time, being - as it was - attached to an arm, and that arm to the artist's body, which was out of sight under the table.

The focus group leader welcomed gallery visitors into the room, five at a time, as if they were volunteer participants. She informed them that as she was a third party, all of their comments would be taken in confidence. She then began to ask questions about the art product - what thoughts or feelings it evoked, what era participants thought it belonged to and where they would place it in their house, if they could.

There was a moment of recognition - a split second for some as they first entered the room, for others slightly longer - but this was less the unveiling of a trick, more a sleight of hand performed by the eye. The questions moved from the specific to the general - from the art product to the optimal character of an artist - as the session progressed. At the end of the session, the focus group leader thanked the participants, and asked them to leave via a different door than they had come in. The room itself was part of a larger installation. As the participants stepped out, they found themselves in a darkened antechamber where a one-way mirrored window allowed both participants and viewers to watch the next session taking place.

Set in the context of an exhibition entitled 'Act & Accomplish', this performance was the result of a residency exploring implicit and explicit notions of success as an artist. The residency and exhibition took place in Nature Morte, New Delhi, in August 2012

Artworks by Kym Ward

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