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White I

Live performance with white body paint and MDF

White 2007 was a two-part installation
including video and live performance
Photograph and video installation
assisted by
Steve Brown, Bruce Currie
and Judy Goldhill

August/September 2007

Central Saint Martins
College of Art and Design
University of the Arts, London

The Performance:

For White I 2007, Lee performed throughout the seven days of the show in a covered outdoor courtyard in the basement of the Central Saint Martins Charing Cross Road building. He entered the performance space as the show opened each day, proceeding to strip and cover his body in white body paint. After dusting himself in talcum powder, he then spent half-an-hour in turn in three positions - sitting, standing and lying; sitting and lying on un-painted MDF boxes, both of which exactly match Lee's body dimensions. Lee's body left marks on the boxes, building up during the show. Lee washed off the white paint to leave the performance space, clothed and unmarked, as the show closed each evening.

The Installations:

The installations and live performance lead on from Lee's previous performances, all of which include the male body transformed. The body is exposed and then covered in the pursuit of a truth.

For White 2007 Lee is covered in white body paint, live and in both photograph and video. He is present in a still life (the live performance) and absent in the white-cube space, where the live performance was developed. Lee is concerned with loss and the body's deterioration.

For White 2007 Lee avoids, allusions to the life class, sculpture and theatricality, in a minimal piece in which the anonymous body is the work. Whether present, as in the live piece, or implied as a trace or projection, in the empty performance space and video installation, the body is the focus. Resisting his desire to be visible he strips away identity by blanking out signs of personality and individuality. The pose is simple and relaxed; the body's stillness gives few clues as to the life and nature of the man.

Lee's intention is to allow the viewer to project onto the work their own concerns and preoccupations, fascinations, prejudices. The live performance engages people and is intended to move them to look into themselves and think more about their own corporeal existence.

Philip Lee White 2007 is dedicated to Val Wood 1959 - 2006

Romain Forquy photographed the performance and six of these images are shown in an album above. These are for sale as limited edition prints.

A limited edition C-type print photograph, taken by Judy Goldhill, and a limited edition video, White 2007 Movie V - Lying 16 August 2007, both of which were part of one of the installations, are available for sale.

Please contact Philip, via the contact page on this website, if you wish to purchase any of these photographs or the video.

Additional performance photography is by Christie Brown, Julia Davy, Jack and Jail Saunders.

There was a catalogue illustrating the work of the 65 artists who took part in the show along with a website.

Lee acknowledges the support of the MA Fine Art tutors and the technicians of the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London, throughout this project and the MA course.

For information on the MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins please refer to the following web page: postgraduate/ma-fine-art

Video Editing by Steve Brown

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