It’s often been yarn, other times it’s been feathers, but lately it’s been gimp—the plastic, straight-edged string used to make boondoggles—that El Putnam has used in her performance at Mobius, an artist organization in Cambridge. She knits, twists, and ties the material while artists around her sketch what they see.
The performance is turning “action into installation,” she says.
“It’s interacting with these materials, using these actions to create ephemeral installations.”
Putnam—who holds a BFA in Fine Arts from Tufts University–is a frequent performer at Mobius’s monthly Performing on Paper event, what she calls “a collaboration” between the artist performing and those watching and recording. The art, she says, “comes from a fight between two works.”
Mobius has been hosting Performing on Paper events for almost three years, says organizer Margaret Bellafiore. All artists of all skill levels are invited to participate.
“What happens is a focus of energy between the performer who is trying to create an ‘image’ and the drawing participant who is trying to respond to that by creating their own image on paper. There is a connection of energy between the two,” says Bellafiore. “It is not easy! It takes a lot of concentration and focus.”
Videos of past events where Putnam has performed show her sitting in the center of a white room, strands of yarn leading from her lap to the ceiling, and then back down to the balls of yarn on the floor. She is knitting an uneven rectangle when she stops to pull several yards of yarn from above.
“You’re using actions to create objects,” she says, “but those actions are futile because you’re destroying with those same actions.”
Performing on Paper is a monthly event and is open to the public.
PERFORMING ON PAPER
55 NORFOLK ST.
12PM/ALL AGES/$10 SUGGESTED DONATION