By Christian Regan
Praised for its academics, its prime location near a big city and its phenomenal arts programs, Drew has been a proud host to artists and creators for its entire history. This week, Drew’s Crawford Hall was open to Lauren Bakst and Yuri Masnyj, performing and speaking on their collaboration, “Re: Nude in a Landscape.” This part-performance-part-lecture was a unique look into the psyche, laid out into four chapters and categorized by the scope of the subject.
Chapter One, titled “Setting the Field”, contained thoughts on objects in relation to each other and to ourselves. Masnyj said, “We wanted to create an undetermined field of activity where we could ask questions… We could have laid out a sanctified space that said ‘this is where things would happen.’ But we let the objects kind of create their own space.” And it was the creation of this space and Bakst’s performance around the space that allowed an ethereal, yet wholly human, tone to the whole piece.
Each chapter became more and more minute, with Chapter Two discussing conversations and the relation between people and Chapter Three discussing the body’s image and body language. This culminated in Chapter Four, perhaps the most particularly interesting and thought-provoking section, devoted to memory and the idea of thought.
Masnyj and Bakst talked about “filmic memory,” the idea that when we replay a memory, it plays back like a movie. Masnyj said, “Cause that’s the way I thought memory worked. But then I thought about it.” Pun aside, Masnyj goes on to talk about how memory is a collection of emotions, feelings and sensations that combine to recall a specific moment in time.
The seminar wrapped with a Q & A, in which the audience picked the brains of the two artists. Upon a question about their process, Masnyj described it as such: “We’re the people in the coffee shop that you say ‘what are they doing?’ We had like the pads out…”
Clearly, Baskt and Masnyj had a process, and this process produced a particularly interesting piece of work. Louise Daly (’18) described the seminar as “exposure beyond [her] comfort zone.” Though she was only there for extra credit for her art history class, she said, “Now if I ever see, like in New York, a live installment of art I’d be more interested to go.”
The Mellon Arts for the Common Good grant has been providing interesting and groundbreaking art displays for Drew students to experience for two years, so any of their events are always worth enjoying. Keep your eyes peeled for more events like this in the future on the Drew Today and on flyers around campus.
[Feature Image courtesy of NYTimes.com. Caption: “Re: Nude in the Landscape,” the brainchild of Lauren Bakst and Yuri Masnyj, is a performance art piece that fuses sculpture and choreographed movements as part of the examination of the body]