This Friday, Utah artist Chris Purdie and the Sego Arts Foundation will open a performance art event to coincide with Provo City’s next gallery stroll.
The event, called “I am Chris Purdie,” will consist of 30 actors, all dressed in Purdie’s regular black glasses, beanie, and hoodie, roaming the gallery as Purdie himself. Purdie spent more than 120 hours during February in personal hang out sessions with the actors, allowing them to acquaint themselves with the creator of the art they are to portray.
Purdie found some of his inspiration from the thrill art-seekers find in speaking to the artist. “I multiply that possibility of people talking to the artist to the point that this concept becomes the art,” Purdie said. “The viewer will come in and have a literal dialogue with the art and the artist at the same time.”
The main event will be on March 6, with all of the actors in the gallery at the same time. Following the main event, at least one Purdie-impersonator will be in the gallery during event hours until it closes on March 28.
“The performers are the actual artwork,” said Purdie, a BYU student. “This kind of art sort of creates a bridge between performance art and traditional art.”
Each of the actors will base their performance on their personal knowledge of Purdie. As each of them has seen a different side of the artist, all of their performances will showcase a different aspect of his life.
“The idea is to visually and conceptually illustrate a conversation since the way the actors know me is through the conversations we have had,” Purdie said. “And they will share that information through conversations with the audience.”
According to www.SegoArts.com this new dramatic take on the self portrait may seem “narcissistic, solipsistic, and entirely self centered.” However, in Purdie’s humble approach to the event, it becomes “a critique of the contemporary artist.” New approaches to art such as this are few and far between in Utah Valley.
The exhibit is partially funded by a grant from Brigham Young University through the Laycock Center for Creative Collaboration in the Arts.
Where: 169 N. University Avenue
Main event: March 6 from 6-9 p.m.
Continuing exhibit: March 7-28, Tuesday-Saturday from 2-8 p.m.