Artesis Plantijn Hogeschool Antwerpen
Koninklijke Academie van Antwerpen
Study guide


Academic year 2023-24
Is found in:
  • Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts, programme stage 3
    Choice package:
    • aan opleidingsonderdelen naar keuze
    • aan opleidingsonderdelen naar keuze (MO + GO)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts
    Choice package:
    • Elective courses
    • Elective courses (MO + GO)
This is a single course unit.
Study load: 6 credits
Co-ordinator: Okumura Yuki
Teaching staff are not (all) known yet.
Languages: English
Scheduled for: Academic year
This course unit is marked out of 20 (rounded to an integer).
Possible deadlines for learning account: 31.10.2023 ()
Re-sit exam: not possible.
Possibility of deliberation: You have to pass this course unit (will never be deliberated).
Total study time: 150,00 hours


There are no prerequisites for this course.

Short description

With artist Yuki Okumura as tutor, this course concerns performance not as a theatrical showcase staged for the spectator but as a series of actions or gestures that the artist carries out just for their own sake.

In the context of art history, ‘performance’ came out of ‘action painting’ (Harold Rosenberg, 1952), where the process of executing a painting was regarded as the work itself, with the resultant painting merely as its record—which then led to ‘happening’ (Allan Kaprow, 1958) and paved the way for the subsequent development in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Giving the most importance to the artist’s doing rather than what they produce or exhibit, this radical shift from artwork/object/result to artist/action/process has been a dominant mode in contemporary art up until today.

In this course, you are encouraged to apply this ‘performative turn’ to your own practice. Approaching your artistic concern from a different angle, you will develop a new body of work with performance as its main medium. We will also trace the genealogy of performativity in art history by examining various significant works as a source of information and inspiration for your experiment.

Your performance can take any form, but to begin with, it will be suggested to exploit the ‘conceptual’ procedure: you set simple instructions, follow them absolutely, and see what happens. In line with what ‘perform’ etymologically means—‘carry out what is demanded’ (per=completely / fornir=provide)—this is the basic method of performativity that helps you go beyond your own ego.

Most importantly, this course considers ‘performance’ as a highly private experience: it’s something you do purely by yourself and for yourself. Unlike theater (thea=seeing), performative actions or gestures do not have to be shown or communicated to others. Performance is a way of self-reflection rather than that of self-expression.

Prerequisite competencies (text)

This course is ideal for you if you:

  • Have developed a certain artistic practice based on your own concern (and need something fresh to move ahead).
  • Are sometimes skeptical if the things you make are really your work: perhaps your action to make them or your gesture to contexualize them is the real work.
  • Are interested in employing performance as a possible trigger to revise the form, method, or style of your work.
  • Are troubled with the limitation of your inner creativity and want to open up your working process to things external to you.

Learning outcomes (list)

BA1 - The student has the necessary artistic skills to design and/or realize a personal project within the broad spectrum of the visual arts under supervision.
The student is able to present their action/process as a genuine work in the exhibitionary context.
BA2 - The student has the necessary knowledge, skills and insights regarding material, form, action, concepts, function and contents of the chosen medi
The student is able to figure out which medium is essential for their practice.
BA3 - The student knows about and understands the social, cultural, artistic, historical and international context of the visual arts and artistic praxis, and continues to develop this knowledge and understanding.
The student is able to understand how performativity has played a role in art history and relate their own work to that genealogy/constellation.
BA5 - When developing his/her personal visual language the students starts from a searching and reflective attitude when developing one's own visual language.
The student is able to utilize performative methodologies/forms to complement/update their practice/work, if not taking it over entirely.
The student is able to free their practice from conventional formats through performativity.
The student is able to take advantage of performative procedures to go beyond their own ego and open their work to unpredictability.
BA6 - The student understands the characteristics of his/her personal designs and/or realizations and is able to communicate about this in an appropriate manner.
The student is able to locate the essential concern of their own practice through self-reflection, self-criticism, listening to and talking with others.

Course content

Artistic Practice

Responding to a series of assignments focused on certain aspects of performativity, along with occasional physical and mental exercises (re-enacting historical pieces, writing artist statements, etc.) and individual experiments, you will develop a number of performance or performative works in consultation with the tutor, exploring and refining your own artistic concern.
At the end of each phase, you share your work with the class. It could be either performed live or presented by means of documentation (be it not only video or photography but also painting, sculpture, print, wearables, text, website, story-telling, memory-sharing, or anything).

Lectures and/or tutorials

Lectures by the tutor, each focusing on an art tendency related to performance, with occasional homework assignments. Possible subjects include: Action painting (Jackson Pollock, Harold Rosenberg); Happening (Allan Kaprow, John Cage, Hi-Red Center); Event (George Brecht, Yoko Ono); Task-dance (Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, Deborah Hay); Conceptual art (Douglas Huebler, Vito Acconci, On Kawara, Lee Lozano) - Video art (Bruce Nauman, Bas Jan Ader, Peter Campus); Parasitical practice (Andre Cadere, Rafael Ferrer); Lecture performance (Hito Steyerl, Walid Raad); Delegated performance (Tino Sehgal, Alexandra Pirici, Claire Bishop). With occasional lectures by guest artists on their own performative practices.

Study material (text): Mandatory

Photocopied or scanned pages of the text to be discussed in each lecture will be given in advance or on site. Images of the performative works discussed will be put on screen.

Educational organisation (list)

Learning Activities
Artistic praxis34,00 hours
  • Description: Studio meetings: 17 sessions of 2 hours
Lectures and / or tutorials16,00 hours
  • Description: Lectures and/or tutorials: 8 sessions of 2 hours
Practicum100,00 hours
  • Description: Working outside of contact hours: 4h/week

Evaluation (list)

Evaluation(s) for both exam chances, not reproducible in re-sit exam
Eerste examenperiodeProject assignment100,00Permanent evaluation (attendance of the contact hours) + assignment evaluation (performance pieces and research homeworks).

Evaluation (text)

Permanent evaluation (attendance of the contact hours) + assignment evaluation (performance pieces and research homeworks).