Can Lynn Hershman Leeson’s ‘Life Squared’, displayed in Montreal in 2007 as part of an exhibition entitled “Les vases communicants-e-art’, be interpreted as the reenactment, in the context of SecondLife, of a performance dating back to 1973-74 in which the artist staged moments in the life of her imaginary alter ego, ‘Roberta Breitmore’, at San Francisco’s Dante Hotel?
Rewriting the history of a performance The dialectical interaction of ‘self’ and ‘play’ play-acting and performance, has been central to Hershman’s artistic development since the 1970s. All through her career, she has devised imaginary characters based on real-life experiences of hers; she has also used various pseudonyms such as Prudence Juris, Herbert Goode and Gay Abandon. Aliases have featured prominently in her work as a visual artist since her student years; for instance, a sculpture entitled Self-Portrait as Another Person, dated 1969, has repeatedly been used as a prop in later performances involving Roberta Breitmore.
- Cyril Thomas, Paris X University, Nanterre, France
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