Featured Long Durational Work

Avid Metamorphosis I (1994), Rona Lee

Duration: Up to eight hours

Text by Rona Lee and Karina Vahitova
Cover photograph by Gareth James

"Avid Metamorphosis I" was a durational piece performed by artist Rona Lee in which a man’s suit was unpicked using a rip-unpick and pair of small scissors shaped like a bird’s head. The length of the work varied between five and eight hours depending on the construction of the suit. The suit was unpicked and the pieces were progressively laid out in the space in which the action was performed. A video close-up of the artist's hands at work was simultaneously relayed to a monitor installed into a hole cut out of a shirt hanging from the ceiling. This made it necessary for the artist to keep her movement restricted in order to keep within the camera’s field of vision. For the duration of the performance, the artist wore a beak/gag made of papier mâché.

"Avid Metamorphosis I" (1995), Rona Lee. Institute of Contemporary Art, London. Photograph by Matt Knowle

Rona Lee is a fine artist whose work encompasses a range of media; photography, video, sculpture, performance and digital media, alongside other forms of social engagement and intervention. Rooted in feminist, performative and conceptual practices, questions of subjectivity and alteriety form continuing concerns with her work. She is currently Professor of Fine Art at Northumbria University and has received awards and grants from a range of sources including Arts Council England, British Council, Live Art Development Agency and Leverhulme Trust and shown work in conjunction with: John Hansard Gallery, Beaconsfield, The Ikon Gallery, The Contemporary Art Society, Tate Modern, Firstsite, Newlyn Art Gallery, Henie Onstad Museum, Oslo, San Francisco Art Commissions Gallery, La Chambre Blanche, Quebec City and The Irish Museum of Modern Art. Her website can be found here.