Mallarmé revisé o Malarmado revisado (Mallarmé Revised or Malarmado Revised)

Esther Ferrer

San Sebastián, Spain, 1937
  • Date: 
  • Material: 
    Black and white photograph, paper and polychromed mud
  • Technique: 
    Photography, drawing, patinated and typing
  • Descriptive technique: 
    A work made up of the performance score, a modified paving stone, an audio recording and two photographs from the presentation of the 1992 performance
  • Dimensions: 
    Score: 29,5 x 42 cm / Object: 11 x 10,5 x 9,5 cm / Photograph: 24 x 17,8 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
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From 1964 to 1973, while a member of Zaj, Esther Ferrer performed numerous actions using the body as the object of artistic inquiry. Mallarmé revisé o Malarmado revisado (Mallarmé Revised or Malarmado Revised) is based on an action which Ferrer’s instructions describe thus: “Put a paving stone marked like a die onto your head. Go onto a stage (although it can be performed anywhere else). Walk around, or do not, but whatever happens let it fall to the ground (the louder the noise the better). Bend down, pick it up, say the number out loud and show the audience (so they can see there are no tricks). Repeat as many times as you wish. Leave the stage (or wherever you are) with the paving stone on your head, but this time walking backwards, or leave the paving stone on the stage (or chosen venue) in case somebody else wants to repeat the performance.” The action refers to the use of chance as inherited from Dadaism, which the Zaj artists recreated, adding a number of basic elements: the role of the body and components of risk, performativity and collective participation. So the work becomes an ironic re-examination of one of the most important theoretical references of modernity, Stéphane Mallarmé, whose final work A Throw of the Dice Will Never Eliminate Chance (1897) dealt with the creation of poetry free from any rules governing typography or rhythm, opening the door to modern literature.

Carmen Fernández Aparicio