Skip to content
Pope.L at the Walker Art Center

Exhibition view of The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance. Photo: Pierre Ware.

Through works that bring together objects, movement, or the living body, The Paradox of Stillness explores the intersections between performance and visual art. The exhibition features some 100 artworks by successive generations of artists who test the boundaries between stillness and motion, mortality and time.

Stillness and permanence are common qualities of painting and sculpture. Consider, for example, the frozen gestures of a historical tableau, the timelessness of a still life painting, or the unyielding bronze or marble figure. Translating these traditional mediums into actions, artists use performance to investigate the interplay between the fixed image and the live body.

An evolving exhibition, The Paradox of Stillness includes up to 15 live performances in the galleries or public spaces. As the presentation unfolds, visitors encounter the unexpected as the galleries gradually become more active. Puppets and automatons dance through space. Mechanized sculptures subtly transform, while paintings and sculptures alike are activated by performers. Organic materials melt and decay, marking time’s passing. The final gallery hosts a changing series of choreographed performances