Esther Ferrer played a key role in the introduction and development of action art in Spain, back in the 1960s and 1970s. She considers performance to be the art of the here and now. Her performances involve three fundamental elements: presence, space and time. She is concerned with the effects that the interaction between these three elements have on the viewer: the presence of the person making the performance (the artist), the presence of the recipients, playing an active or a passive role in the performance (the viewers), and the space-time where the performance takes place.
Ferrer uses everyday objects in her performances, stripping them of their usual functions. In doing, she creates absurd situations that encourage the viewer to find something in them while conveying no specific message. In The Things (Las cosas), one of her best-known performances, the artist, sitting on a chair, places all sorts of things on her head. Thus, she becomes a plinth and the museum where the performance takes place is her context.
El hilo del tiempo (The Thread of Time [action in the collective happening The John Cage Train. In Search of Lost Silence, trains from the Bologna rail network, 26-28 June 1978]), 1978
Gelatin silver print on paper
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía
© Esther Ferrer, VEGAP, Bilbao, 2018
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Photo Archive, Madrid