ARTIST STATEMENT: Mementronome
This one-to-one participatory piece looks at subjective archives in performance. The work imaginatively reworks aspects of the Richard Demarco archive in an eclectic approach, taking inspiration from selected artists in the archive, including Paul Neagu, Tadeusz Kantor, Joseph Beuys, Marina Abramovic and Bobby Baker and reacts to Joseph Beuys’ statement ‘everyone is an artist’. Visual inspiration came from Paul Neagu’s Fish’s Net performance (1972) and it was devised using the methodology of Tadeusz Kantor.
Richard Demarco’s comments on Mementronome (2015):
Aletia Upstairs is a South African artist presently studying at Leeds Beckett University. She has taken the trouble to focus her work on the Demarco Archive. She has created a unique artwork combining aspects of performance art and visual art. She has taken the courageous step of engaging with her audience on a one-to-one basis so that Edinburgh Festival-goers could find themselves involved in a unique form of artistic experience. I was privileged to be her audience and therefore be involved in a special collaboration with her. I would recommend the experience to all those friends who share my commitment to the Edinburgh Festival.
Her statement with regard to the nature of her art work entitled, Mementronome, is concise and informative. I recommend it to anyone interested in the Demarco Archive as a ‘gesamtkunstwerk’. It is fitting that her contribution is in the Demarco Gallery at Summerhall devoted to an exhibition entitled Paul Neagu and Friends. The image on the Festival poster advertising Mementronome as part of the Demarco European Art Foundation’s Summerhall exhibition programme is arresting and unforgettable. The metronome strapped on Aletia’s head and her use of the cardboard box should bring back memories of how Paul Neagu used the reality of a metronome in his ‘Going Tornado’ performance in Scotland in The Demarco Gallery Forresthill Poorhouse and on Inchcolm Island. The Demarco Archive, for the most part, exists in cardboard boxes so this image expresses the quintessential nature of the Demarco Archive as it is made manifest at Summerhall.