Limits of Performance

  • Ulay, There is a Criminal Touch to Art (1976), film still from the Berlin action. Gelatin silver print, 20 x 25 cm. Series of 18 works. © Ulay. Courtesy the artist and MOT International, London. Used with permission.

Past Event

This event was on Sat 28 May, 1–6pm 

What limits are imposed on performance, whether actively or tacitly, by institutions, form, tradition or by history? These limits may also be imposed by artists themselves as constructive boundaries with which to wrestle towards productive ends. How do artists comply with, reject, or overcome limits in the course of their work, or in its presentation, documentation, or dissemination?

UNLIMITED ACTION: Limits of Performance brings together artists, curators and academics to explore these questions around the theme of limits in performance – limits of the body, aesthetics, material conditions, institutional practices, pleasure, or desire.

Speakers include artists Anne Bean, Nigel Rolfe and Ulay, who will also perform.

In collaboration with Dominic Johnson (Queen Mary University of London), supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


1pm Introduction by Dominic Johnson

1.30pm Presentation by Anne Bean

2pm Presentation by Nigel Rolfe

2.30pm  Panel discussion with Anne Bean, Nigel Rolfe, and Dominic Johnson

3.15pm Break

4pm Screening of Ulay’s There is a Criminal Touch to Art (1976), 40 mins, documenting his theft of “Germany’s favourite painting”.

4.45pm Ulay in conversation with Dominic Johnson (including a short performance by Ulay)

6pm Close