Kaspar Aus is a dancer who combines a variety of different media in his work, including video, painting, drawing and music. Although most of my research is focused on visual artists who do performance, Kaspar was recommended to me by the Centre for Contemporary Art as someone to meet, and indeed his work can be seen through the lens of performance art.
As the final work for his Master’s degree, Kaspar collaborated on a piece with Raul Meel, a graphic artist who is currently working in performance, creating fire performances. Meel is also a sound poet, and his poems featured in the performance, hung from a rope overhead. In the background, a clock is ticking, and Kaspar crawls onto the scene, “like an animal,” until he is fully standing, spotlit from the back so that his figure casts a shadow on the wall. The entire performance lasts 90 minutes, and the artist commented that it was very “rhythmic and methodical,” and, in a way, meditative. The performance is titled A Man and could be seen to represent mankind in general, evolving and changing through the passage of time.
Kaspar collaborated with another visual artist, Patrick Hall, in the performance and dance Listening to Blood, where each of the performers ‘listen to their blood’ and move according to that rhythm. An older man than Kaspar, Patrick’s rhythm was decidedly different, however the performance was meant both as a way for the artist to break out of his paintings and express something different, as well as a way to examine the relationship between artists of two generations.
Kaspar told me that it was liberating to work with other people in this way, artists from various backgrounds and genres. It taught him to think about expression in different ways. He talks about his art as a communication with the “other” – as the other person is always there, taking in your performance and responding to it. He also had an interesting take on the quality of a performance, saying that if something is perceived as boring, then that is a relevant experience, too, it is still information and experience. By combining dance with visual art and performance Kaspar adds a new take on time and duration, which has its own specific meaning in dance, especially given that it comes from movement, and the movement of the body is perpetual.