Tutors at Byam Shaw had been commenting all along on the performative aspects of much of Eldi's work, and yet she had been resisting incorporating straightforward performance on her art course for some undefined reason, despite training as an actor many years prior.
This performance came to Eldi's mind fully formed when in that liminal space between wake and sleep one night. The set, the props, the actions were all there; all that was needed was to show up and perform it. Notes were taken, a proposal written, and a play-dough making recipe sourced...
The title says it all, doesn't it? "It's all been done before..."
Repetition & derivation, the seemingly endless daily drudgery of domesticated grunt work, to what end? If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen... or... rebel and turn it into a playground for unexpressed rage and violence. But also for the student artist coming into a world where everything truly has already been done. Every idea sparks a reference to someone else's work. The context must be understood. The theory digested and regurgitated to make the grade. Nothing can be said or written about art without first quoting what was said or written before, even if what was said or written before was unknown to the person now saying it or writing about it. A minefield for the artist in academia to navigate, frustratingly, blindly, naively. Hence the title.
Sexuality, sensuality, domesticity and violence merge in this performance piece by Eldi Dundee, filmed for the Byam Shaw summer degree show (2009) by fellow student, Patricia Oliveira.
The photos of the dress rehearsal of Eldi's performance were kindly taken by another fellow student, June Singkaew.
Eternal thanks for their help in documenting this ephemeral work.
16 mins film, legnth of performance and dimensions of installation variable
home-made play-dough, Barbie dolls, Doc Martens boots, yellow No2 pencils