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About How to Explain Art (Picture) to A Dead Wire (Hare)


Improvisational acts are performed to instigate the ability of the audience to participate, from passive to active. The uncertainty of performance often registers in viewers mind shock, so an unexpected thrilling effect occurs. For instance, in the theatre, the German dramatist Berthold Brecht created an unexpected, improvised methodology by seeking the participation of an audience.


Within a gallery setting the artist follows the enactment of a legendary performance of Joseph Beuys  ‘How to Explain Picture to a Dead Hare’. It is performed each day and seen nearly conventional to the audience/co-artists/general viewers, but creates curiosity for more.


The artist acts as a shaman character. The audience sees the person, a female, wearing a loose draped red velvet robe and a crown like white-feathered headgear. The face is covered with a mask of gold and silver leaves. The character holds a nest or web-like wire in her hand and stands next to the entrance of the gallery door. There is not any movement seen unless the musician joins and the ‘character of Beuys’ becomes active. As the musician plays the one-stringed instrument kalambu the shaman character performs with gestures like weaving, unknotting or nesting the wire.


Both act instantaneous; the music fills the ether, the gestures seek visual attention; both acts are unlike from each other thus appears as an established articulated conversational piece. The performance ‘How to Explain Art (Picture) to a Dead Wire (Hare)’ focused on the non-digital but technical exploration of a traditional theatrical act. This is not to be seen as complete if each person, the artist and the musician perform separate. The improvisational quality of the performance emerges into the environment of the gallery space.


The non European musical instrument is alien to the metropolis. The musician is an immigrant from Africa (Caribbean?) carrying his heritage with him. With the instrument kalumbu the person not only carries his heritage; the sound also reflects the memories of the surrounding native site (nature, the forest); this is very distant from the city such as London.


The use of a wire as medium symbolises the communication through music and theatrical act. It transfers the site; the situation towards an ephemeral act could be seen as harmless like a whistle of a bird, the joy of the intangible which enforces a pre-digital age ritualistic act.

Detail - A performance aimed at a conditional collaboration with a street musician Rabim Sha depending on his premeditated state of affairs. The work took place in a group show SHIFT at the Menier Gallery in London UK, 2nd to 6th June 2015.

Rabimsha -The Kalumbu Player

Still Images from How to Explain Art (Picture) to A Dead Wire (Hare)




Performance of Joseph Beuys ‘How to explain Picture to a Dead Hare’ in his own word "For me, the Hare is a symbol of incarnation, which the hare really enacts- something a human can only do in imagination. It burrows, building itself a home in the earth. Thus it incarnates itself in the earth: that alone is important. So it seems to me. Honey on my head, of course, has to do with thought. While humans do not have the ability to produce honey, they do have the ability to think, to produce ideas. Therefore the stale and morbid nature of thought is once again made living. Honey is an undoubtedly living substance- human thoughts can also become alive. On the other hand intellectualizing can be deadly to thought: one can talk one's mind to death in politics or in academia.”


The artist stands for ecological loss crossing the boundaries with an intention to blur the facts with fiction.

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