shrink (various performances)
Malstaf has been performing ‘Shrink’ since 1996.
The piece consists of the artist or volunteers situating themselves between two sheets of clear plastic and allowing themselves to be shrink wrapped, suspended in space. Two transparent tube allow the performer to regulate the vacuum pressure and get fresh air. The performer can control the pose that they take and by releasing a little pressure can move to assume a new pose. The piece plays simultaneously with concepts protection and fragility.
"Of course, the first thing you see is this spectacular image: man as meat," Malstaf said when I emerged, shaking slightly from the muscular effort. "But over time, I want the viewer start to see other things – to see the humanity of it, the breathing, the gentleness, the beauty." For him, it’s a Zen-like experience, a way of slowing time, both for participant and viewer. "It’s hard to tell how much time passes inside." He isn’t wrong. It’s a surprisingly meditative thing, to be packaged.
quote via: Chris Michael's article, I was shrink wrapped for art on the guardian
top image: 1995 Performative Installation © Lawrence Malstaf/Galerie Fortlaan 17, Ghent.