Andrea Pagnes and Verena Stenke have been working together since 2006 as VestAndPage and gained internationally recognition in the fields of performance art, film, writing, publishing and with international community cultural projects. They have been creating live performances, performance visuals, performance-based films and poetic writings since over a decade, exploring performance art as phenomena through their collaborative creative practice, as well as through theoretical artistic research and curatorial projects. Their works have been presented in museums, galleries, theatres and a variety of sites worldwide. Their writings have been extensively published and translated for international readers.
VestAndPage’s art practice is contextual and situation-responsive, conceived psycho-geographically in response to natural surroundings, social contexts, historical sites and architectures. They inquire performance art not just as a medium to express their concerns and ideals, but as an urgency to explore the physical, mental and spiritual bodies, and to interface with the ephemeral matters of art and existence. In a poetics of relations they examine notions of temporalities, memory strata, communication and fragility of the individual and the collective within social and environmental spheres, applying the themes of trust in change, endurance, union, pain sublimation and risk-taking with a poetic bodily approach to art practice and a focus on universal human experiences. Their artistic collaboration has roots in contemporary visual and conceptual art, classical, oriental and social theatre, philosophy, anthropology, anthropoetics and political science, as well as in the study of rites, myths and religions, particularly Islamic Sufism, Mediaeval alchemy as well as the ancient Greek and Christian iconology to analyse the significance of a subject’s matter within the cultures that produce it. Working with material from a personal and genetic library accessed through insightful thinking and spiritual practices, their works are accessible by a wide audience, allowing viewers to address realistic contents through fresh iconography in an otherworldly surrounding. Their durational performances are distinguished by actions and sensorial details that undermine the conventional and put the elements of logic into question. These performances have durations of 24 hours or 5 days and nights consecutively, or can be month-long, as it was for the performance walk in their latest feature-length film Plantain.
Their performance cycles and films are developed consecutively and in situ. The process of making unfolds as if in absence of temporality, as if the concept of time itself had collapsed to create a setting in which the present is repeated or the past is recalled. These works face philosophical, social and political issues from multiple perspectives, for example the belief and unbelief. While encompassing a range of subtly different concepts, they primarily express VestAndPage’s Weltanschauung while adding or revealing poetic elements as a rebellion against the exercise of power and discrimination among human beings.
_ AEGIS, Performance cycle currently in production
_ FRAGILE BODY | MATERIAL BODY, post event catalogue book of the III Venice International Performance Art Week (2016)
_ PLANTAIN | SPITZWEGERICH, Performance based film currently in post production
_ STRATA, Performance based film in development
_ VENICE INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART WEEK, Ongoing biennial live art exhibition project and formative program