Part show-and-tell and part actionism, Nil is loosely inspired by “The 12 Labours of Hercules” as a performance endeavour that embarks on the task of undoing and dismantling oneself.
Known for experimental performance that is full of beauty, but not always easy to stomach, Gavin Krastin premieres his latest work Nil at this year’s National Arts Festival; a performance that embarks on the task of undoing and dismantling oneself and one’s histories. A multiple Standard Bank Ovation, Encore and Aha Award winning artist and National Arts Festival ‘Performance Art’ regular, Gavin Krastin has presented Rough Musick (2013), Omnomnom (2014), On seeing red and other fantasies (2015) and Pig Headed (2016) at recent festivals with great success, many of which have gone on to tour internationally. This year he is back, offering an encounter that flirts with social nihilism and nothingness. The Cape Town-based artist explains that Nil is a solo performance of episodic assemblages that are part actionism and part show-and-tell, with an irreverent attitude towards ‘high art forms’. At times silly and other times perverse, Nil uses a queering of the “Twelve Labours of Hercules” as a springboard for action and subversion.
… agitating considerations of privilege, eroticism and nothingness in the impossible task of undoing and dismantling…
Through these actions, approached from within the current de-colonial South African context, the privileged white South African male collapses into its reigning representations. Nil surfaces questions regarding the duplicitous nature of race as nationhood and patriotism as cultural capital while agitating considerations of privilege, eroticism and nothingness in the impossible task of undoing and dismantling oneself and one’s histories. Straddling the worlds of theatre, live art and performance, Gavin Krastin is an emergent young artist with an interest in the body’s representation, limitation and operation in alternative, layered spaces. His work is inspired by his immediate South African environment and one’s positionality in the history embedded in its shifting socio-political landscape. Rather than using performance as a means of escaping the politics of the body, he uses it as a way to occupy and unveil the body politic.
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Masonic Front (Masonic Hall), corner of African and Hill Street, Grahamstown