Hackney Showroom, London, 2016
This four hour performance sought to nourish the ground with small actions. Nourishing the ground is a labour of love, and small actions take time. They are hard work. It takes the whole body.
In this attempt to find fertile land in which to bed down, Goldwater sprinkles, draws, digs and buries. Then departs, leaving behind traces of past moments and an unsettled memory.
Photos: Julia Bauer + Natalie Raven
Supported by Tempting Failure CIC and Arts Council England
Morni Hills Performance Art Biennial, Government Museum & Art Gallery, Chandigarh, India, 2016
This two hour performance took place where the sun cast a shadow of my body in line with my materials.
I lay a path on which to walk forward.
What we contain, what we are, and the journeys we make, though limited by our language, can offer nourishment. And within our limitations are the details of our knowledge, where we can discover how to connect with others, and perhaps free ourselves. Or, at least, question boundaries.
Photos: Daniela Beltrani, Paramita Das, Adriana Disman, Razieh Goudarzi + Leafa Wilson
extractors, The Extractor Space, London, 2015
extractors, The Extractor Space, London, 2015
extractors was a group show, curated by the artist Wayne Lucas, which brought together ten artists who had previously held, over the course of a year, residencies and solo shows in The Extractor Space. [See PDF below for more information]
I had completed my residency in June 2014, where I made The pleasure of small partings [see below]. For extractors I decided to bring the hair back to perform alone, encasing it in ice at both ends of the drain. Slowly throughout the show the two ice blocks would melt, finally leaving their watery remains in the gutter and revealing the hair in its naked glory.
This seven hour performance was made in response to the site of an old school kitchen in South East London. The remaining extractor hood was utilised to hang 7m lengths of hair, which I then spread out across the floor. I cut the hair with tailor’s shears, then separated the hanging hair from the hair on the floor, in order to allow for the concrete area of the floor to regain its autonomy.
The remaining hair was spread across the tiled floor so it reached the walls. I also cut into the hanging hair, shortening its length, so that this would help to fill in any gaps, then I left the space after placing the white gloves (inside the hanging hair) on my hands.
The pleasure of small partings
The Extractor Space, London, 2014
Photos: Lucia King + Wayne Lucas
Double Exposures, photoworks with Manuel Vason, (LADA/Intellect Publishers), 2013/5
This diptych was made in collaboration with photographer Manuel Vason, for the book Double Exposures.
Ten years after exposures, (see below), where the focus was on creating an image that reflected my practice utilising only my body, we collaborated again. On this occasion, again questioning the boundary between photography and performance, alongside the image of my body, Vason would also participate and I would become the photographer.
Photos: Manuel Vason/Helena Goldwater
Once in a while it’s important to clear out your glory hole
1st Venice International Performance Art Week, 2012
I performed up to four hours per day, for seven days. The process was much like making a drawing, offering a series of revelations about the materials in relation to the space and my body.
I began with only the knowledge that I would wear my red sequinned dress, a trademark of my performances, and work with 5m lengths of hair, also the width of the performance space. I was interested in allowing the narrative to unfold in a series of episodes or installations. These episodes sought, through a visual and physical vocabulary, a coded score exploring labour, gender and notions of the sublime.
Photos: Jason Lim, Monika Sobczak + Boris Nieslony
El Palomar, Barcelona, Spain, 2014 ;
Performatorium, Regina, Canada, 2012;
Tract, Newlyn Art Gallery + Art Surgery, Cornwall, 2006;
home, London, 2005
The audience enter a bathroom alone to find me in the half-filled bath clothed in a red sequinned dress, which seeps its dye gradually into the water. I place an ice cube in the visitor’s hand and position it in such a way that the cube will melt directly into my mouth for five minutes. I then spit the water into the bath, dry the visitor’s hands, and await the next person. Hot Soak is a one-to-one performance where the audience become co-creators of the work through material and physical exchange. Without them the work cannot exist.
Photos: Steve Tanner and Clara Wellner Bou
From Hot Soak at the Queen’s Hotel, Penzance, Cornwall for Tract: Live Art Festival, 2006
Funnel of love
Archipelago, Café Gallery, London 2011
Funnel of love was a six-week installation comprising of a sequinned column, floor to ceiling, with hair entering from the roof into the column, and exiting near its the base, much like a tree and it’s roots.
Gradually the hair emerging from the base extended itself across the gallery floor and into other spaces, attempting to connect corporeally with the other artworks in Archipelago. Throughout much of the duration of the show I was hidden inside the funnel, in a matching red sequinned dress, sometimes squirting out milk, or sometimes partially emerging only to retreat back inside, and finally sucking all the hair in onto myself and emerging resplendently hirsute.
Photos: Lucia King
Not tonight darling, I'm washing
Smallbone of Devizes, London and Kent, 2007
Not tonight darling, I'm washing my hair was made for two evenings of performance art at Smallbone of Devizes’ showrooms in the UK, one in London and one in Kent.
The audience witnessed me in my red dress enjoying a warm milky bath. Over several hours I extracted very long hairs, one strand at a time, from the luxurious tub in order to create a veil to hem myself in with. As one audience member stated, I was ‘…backing myself into a corner’… the more hairs I extracted the more established my self-imposed cage. I was engaged in a lengthy, and impossible, task – attempting to clarify through transformation.
Photos: Lucia King
exposures, ed. Manuel Vason, Lois Keidan and Ron Athey. (Black Dog Publishers), 2003
This series of images was made in collaboration with photographer Manuel Vason, for the book exposures. This work in a slightly different formation was included in Tate Liverpool’s exhibition, Art, Lies and Videotape: Exposing Perfomance in 2003; Performance Transition, Newlyn Art Gallery, 2012; and To Camera, Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast 2015.
Vason and I worked to create performance images true to my practice that would transcend documentation and become artworks in themselves.
Photos: Manuel Vason
cleanliness is next to godliness, but dirtiness is next to heaven
Dulwich Leisure Centre, London, 2001
I was interested in matters of hygiene and the desires of the everyday in public places. The performance was co-devised in a swimming pool/bath house with four performers - Nicole Robinson, Adura Onashile, Sef Townsend and Jenni Potter.
A site-specific promenade piece, the audience were led to view the diverse hubs, such as the men’s toilets in the basement, the abandoned bathtubs and the 2nd class poolside changing cubicles, and asked to reconsider accepted and inappropriate physical activities, all accompanied by a disconcerting and compelling sound design by Joseph Hyde.
Photos: Megan Frazer
The desert, Arizona, USA, 2000
I was invited by the Institute for the Arts, Arizona to make a performance for a web-cast. I chose to stand on a large block of ice in the desert and then silently waited for it to melt.
Photos: Leslie Hill
Including La Centrale, Montréal, Quebec;
A-Space, Toronto, Canada;
iqun, Manchester, 1998
wet is a lament to love, giving advice on how to remove those stubborn heartbreak stains. The endless trickling of spit and salt, a walk through rainfall ‘on stage’ and an erotic but traumatised text all seek to survive a journey through blood, sweat and tears.
Photo: Liane Harris