An Australian artist decided to be entombed underground for three days as response to totalitarian violence

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He was entombed on Thursday night in a steel container measuring 4.5m x 1.7m x 2.2m and will be excavated on Sunday at 9pm local time. A tube has been fitted under the road to allow air to reach the artist. Parr’s performance is a part of his work entitled  „Underneath the Bitumen – the Artist” under Hobart’s Dark Mofo, the Museum of Old and New Art’s annual winter arts festival. According to organisers of Dark Mofo, the artist’s stay underground is a “response to 20th-century totalitarian violence in all its forms”. “This work is about the NULL of the image – there is no artist, there is no performance, there is no artwork. Life resumes as normal, and we are left with the anxiety of knowing what has transpired, for the duration of the 72 hours,” they more explained.

Mike-Parr-in-his-studio
Mike Parr in his studio

The work was originally conceived a decade ago for an arts festival in Germany, but health and safety issues meant that the work was too problematic to perform. The 72-year-old doyen of Australian perform¬ance art has, during the course of his ¬career, variously sewn together his facial ¬features, stuck drawing pins in his body, doused himself in litres¬ of his own blood and set fire to hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of self-portraits¬. For 50 years, his art has existed at the furthest edges of the extreme.

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