Skip to content | Accessibility Information

Material Balance - Performance re-enactment

The research aim was to investigate the role of re-enactment within the context of performance art. This is with particular reference to the way in which media culture and its reading can inform our understanding of contemporary historical events.

A characteristic of the research method is Adkins interest in working with specialist interest groups and societies to develop performance works utilizing their skills and knowledge. With ‘Material Balance,’ Adkins worked with members from Manchester’s 3C’s children's chess club (supported by English Chess Federation and Grand Master Nigel Short) to restage the previously unseen third game of the 1972 World Chess Championship between Bobby Fisher and Boris Spassky.

‘Material Balance’ utilized the methodology of re-enactment to explore and re-vision a previously unseen sporting event within a gallery environment. By choosing to present a performance based on an un-witnessed event Adkins extends our understanding of the nature of re-enactment. In order to re-create this seminal historic event for an audience she has to draw upon alternative methodologies and conventions of theatre and narrative as well as the documents and detailed notation of the chess match.

Adkins restaging of the 1972 World Chess Championship furthers discourse around art, historic representation and performance narrative (Amelia Jones ‘The Artist is Present – artistic re-enactment and the impossibility of presence’).

‘Material Balance’ was commissioned by the Cornerhouse and the International 3 as part of ‘Between 2’ and developed in collaboration with Annika Ström’s commission ‘The Inept Five’. Critical texts by Dr Nigel Hurlstone (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Raimar Stange (curator and critic based in Berlin) supported ‘Between 2’.

Participating artists in ‘Between’ were Hayley Newman (Matts Gallery London), Trisha Baga (Vilma Gold, London and Greene Naftali, New York) Annika Ström (Lautom Norway) and Ruth Barker. ‘Material Balance’ was reviewed in Corridor 8 *see digital portfolio.

Between 1 - Material Balance by Louise AdkinsBetween 1 - Material Balance by Louise Adkins
Between 2 - Material Balance by Louise AdkinsBetween 2 - Material Balance by Louise Adkins