As an active member of the performance art community, Berlin-based Patrick Morarescu has met amazing artists from all over the world. But it wasn’t until 2010, while attending the Universe Performance Festival in Estonia, that it occurred to him to consider taking photos of these people he knew and admired.
Rather than photograph the performances, Morarescu focuses his lens on the artists right after they finish their shows, while they “still have the energy of creativity.”
“That feeling is what I want to capture in the portraits. It feels like you can still catch some traces of what happened in the performance some minutes before,” he said via email.
Performance art is a largely interdisciplinary genre, one that’s inclusive of many different techniques and approaches. Morarescu’s photos reflect the extreme diversity of places, costumes, and concepts that fall under its umbrella.
Morarescu has photographed more than 180 performers at art venues and festivals in dozens of countries. Usually organized by the artists, the festivals, he said, are “intense social exchanges” full of eating, drinking, and collaborating. “Sometimes it feels like a summer camp or a family reunion—in a positive way.”
He hopes his photos give a sense of each performer’s personality, but Morarescu also hopes they inspire more questions than they answer. “I want to awaken curiosity, open minds, and let viewers imagine what was happening before the photos.”
And while he aims to evoke something of the performance in his photos, he wants viewers to see them as making unique artistic statements of their own. “Performance art is a marginal form, one that normally happens in front of small audiences in alternative venues far from the mainstream. What makes it special is its temporal condition, the fact that this art form is destructed at the same moment that is created,” he said. “The results are ephemeral and any effort to document or register them become new products that are something different.”