Teresa Calonje

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Teresa Calonje's MPhil/PhD Art research project

Appropriating the Moment: Collecting the Performance

In my research, I am looking at the live art moment exposed, acquired and collected, more precisely I am exploring the ownership, possession, appropriation of live art and the economic, legal and existential issues that emerge from these situations.

In a first chapter, mainly through the work of La Ribot, I will look at the economics, to understand the driving desires and what is at play in the shift from the action to the object of acquisition; from the theatre space, economy and audience to the visual art space, economy and visual art logic. I will show how the accumulation of live artworks is assimilated and assimilates the logic of late capitalism and the experience economy. I will draw attention to what is really exchanged, transferable, made alienable in the transaction of live art to question what is actually gained or lost. 

The market and professionalization are bound to legal frameworks and presume property rights, so in a second part, I will question how inalienable gestures are now separated, constructed into property and commercialised (A. Kraut). I will look into the different ways to legally relate to the live art thing. With a special focus on the strategy of Tino Sehgal, I will look at specific cases of artists who are carefully administrating their deaths through contracts of sale, and who are withdrawing their works into property and collections.

As a transition to my third part, I will be revisiting the figure of the outlaw, the place beyond the law, in the margins, as a place of resistance. I will move from the legal to more existential questions claiming an impossibility of appropriation and of remaining in the place/the moment (through Heidegger and Agamben). I will investigate notions of not-owning and poverty and will look at ideas of non-collection and even non-performance (F. Moten), through the work of artist Luisa Nobrega among others.


  • Michael Newman
  • Oreet Ashery