Performance Artist Tamar Ettun on Sculpting With People

Huffington Post, October 31, 2015

On the eve of the New York premiere of her ambitious performance Mauve Bird with Yellow Teeth Red Feather Green Feet and a Rose Belly: Part Blue at the Knockdown Center in Maspeth, Queens, MutualArt sat down with artist Tamar Ettun to discuss how stillness, movement and collaboration function in her work.


Sarah Murkett: In much of your work static sculptures feel like they might get up and dance, and in many of your performances bodies are tested with scripts demanding large expanses of stillness. For you, what is the relationship between sculpture and performance?


Tamar Ettun: Yes, that's what I hope for! I attempt to invert the relationship between sculpture and dance, as they reflect my thinking of the duality in temporality/permanence, life/death, movement/stillness. My work exists where these mediums - on their contradicting natures -- meet, and hope to expand their boundaries. For me, the static of sculpture resembles trauma, in its unchangeable nature that stays fixed in one's mind in the same way that a sculpture is fixed and doesn't change or move. Yet, trauma is constantly open, never cures, and always has the possibility of lingering, falling apart, collapsing, haunting you. This tension, between a performative event that happens within time, and has fixed qualities, and its opposite, a fixed object that wants to perform in time, interests me. And I'm thinking about empathy as a way to bridge the trauma -- the ongoing stillness, the constant state of urgency - and to activate the bodies of the audience and the movers (The Moving Company members).