Opening Night is the last in a series of four solo performance shows, each commencing on successive Thursday evenings at Paradise Row examining the diversity of performative practices at work in the art world today but also the ultimate absorption of performance into wider strategies of representation. In this final show, Gail Pickering extended the invitation proposed to her by Paradise Row to Berlin-based artists John-Patrick Dine and Trine Marie Riel.
Sometimes the commentator inside your head speaks in Bulgarian, in the hillside dialect of the old farmers that roamed the forest's edge. When you played as a child, you could almost sense their paralysis, the augural tough guys' heartbeat that drew them from the copses to watch, and their admiration flitted across your back like the sunlight which catches a deer between the trees. You left for here under the lapping glow of their consent.
And here you shower among many torsos and legs made swollen by anger and sweat, and there are times of real horror when their faces gather into the steam, welding to become one dumbfounded, collective grimace lit by the sparks of violence which still linger in a pointless battle's ashes. That transformation, of rabid temper hissing in British rain, which turns your naked games into an orgy of porcine limbs glistening infernally in water, of a heat, turning spit to steam on pink cheeks that roast in the glow of domination, it is almost too much for you to take. You would swoon if your body would allow you to. During these lapses of concentration you fight to find even a single contour to distinguish the form of one strong male from another, and you are elevated into something which you call a kind of hell, a numb resting place above the lathered, fatted dicks; they make no sound as they slap their masters' drum skin thighs. You lose your rhythm. You have here to clutch the tiles with those same fingernails which clutched the balm in your mother's hand, as you queued for bread coupons, and make one gang of vicious brutes into another: such are the times when only an intervention of violence, of will, can redeem a greedy mob into the choir which churns soft hymns to its own masculinity, can make purposeful the marks of shame beneath your eyes.
John-Patrick Dine was born in Nancy and studied at Goldsmiths. Dine lives in Berlin and works in London.
Trine Marie Riel was born in Roskilde and studied at Goldsmiths and Philosophy at Arhus University. Riel lives in Berlin.
Gail Pickering studied at Goldsmiths where she now teaches. Pickering lives and works in London; recent exhibitions include Gasworks, Tate Modern and the ICA in 2008, and The Royal Academy in 2009.