Anne Bean, Shadow Deeds: Mortality, photo: Chris Bishop
Anne Bean
Shadow Deeds: Drawing Life & Mortality

In 1968, Anne Bean (*1950, Zambia, UK) arrived in Great Britain to study art. Since then, she has developed a body of works that cannot be sufficiently described using medial categories. Sound and music are important aspects. Bean can frequently be seen doing actions by herself and occasionally with others, often with a destructive impetus. In self–reflexive acts, the artist saws apart portable tape recorders or sings along with Captain Beefheart while another tape recorder suffers audibly from the soap water sprinkled onto it. Along with sound and voice, the female body -situated within broader political contexts- is also a subject she is frequently interested in.

artist's website:

Shadow Deeds are performances Anne Bean first developed in 1969-1974 (when she was 18-24) that she performed in front of a camera in 1996-2005. Bean showed the resulting video re-enactments in the Autobituary exhibition at Matt’s Gallery in London in 2006. Music, destruction, drawing and the female body are key subjects in Bean’s work, which also focuses on artistic conditions torn out of their original contexts. The DVDs include two Shadow Deeds: the performances Mortality and Drawing Life. The context of the first lies in the simple, unifying trait of art and life: impermanence. Here, the artist asks herself what would happen if she called her dog “Mortality” and shouted after him in public. The opposite case is the topic of Drawing Life: the physical presence of the body. In this performance, the blindfolded artist draws the outlines of a female nude lying on paper, merging the pursuit of artistic form and the role of women in art into one.

Courtesy Anne Bean

Document media
Video, b&w & colour, sound, 41:18 min & 2:12 min

Issue date
(1970, 1971) 2006

death, painting/drawing, public space, re-enactment, touch