Performance in Photography

Performance in Photography

Both Luisa Hübner and Kari Soinio explores the relationship between how performance artists use photography and how photography is in itself a performance. Performance art is generally experienced live, but what documents it is above all photography. Photography has been used to capture performances since the invention of the camera and continues right up to today’s trend for selfies.

Tekst Rita Leppiniemi Foto Luisa Hübner og Kari Soinio

Luisa Hübner started creating her kitchen series during the first corona lockdown in 2020. She stayed at home, where she felt dysfunctional as a house wife. But by manipulating the moment in a playful and experimental way, she could change something negative into a positive experience. Additionally the process was a passive aggressive way for her to negate the interpretation of female housework as an ”expression of affection”. 

Hübner has been working with her own body for quite a while. In the beginning it was for pragmatic reasons, since she was always there and knew what she wanted, but later she became aware that working with her own body is an integral aspect of creating introspective work. 

Luisa Hübner generally deals with manipulating perception. The world, people and situations look very different when looking at them from alternate perspectives and angles. What is limiting, can also provide new and funny perceptions. In the future, Hübner might do performances with an audience, but so far she prefers working in front of camera. She has a better control over things. On the other hand, she really loves to play and tries to let go from time to time. It lets her incorporate failures into her work.

Above: ”kitchen”, ongoing series.
I am playing with the idea of food. For me it’s not a ”bad habit” but a passive aggressive way to deal with gender stereotypes. ”The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, my grandmother used to say. But her conditioning attempts failed.
In my photo series “kitchen” I am interested in the absurd and decontextualized use of kitchen objects on and in relation to my body. Inspired by contemporary Pop Art and “Alice in Wonderland” I playfully experiment with the paradox of ”non-work” of traditionally female domestic activities. The visual imagery shifts between design and advertising which results in ambivalences of humor and melancholy, of obsession and playfulness. Meaningless occupation of the woman with household utensils can neither be rationalized nor be reinterpreted as an ”expression of affection”.

Luisa Hübner at

Kari Soinio has always been more interested in working in front of the camera rather than an audience. Strictly speaking he might not be a performing artist, even though he may constantly be in a state of rehearsing the perfect movement or the right pose. For him the image is more important than the performance.

Already at a young age, Kari Soinio noticed that he was not comfortable with what was accepted as standard masculine attitudes and behaviour. So he started to explore alternate dimensions of masculinity. In a wider sense he was looking at the body, also the female body, and the ways in which it has been represented throughout the history of art. He also finds it more natural to work nude, instead of dressing up and taking different roles. For him, androgyny and gender issues have great importance.

Soini has always been interested in sculpture as a means of representing the human body. Figurative sculptures are usually very idealized, and finds it almost impossible to imitate that quality. You don’t have the robust muscles; your anatomy is not right. He thinks that in some cases you would actually have to kill the model in order to get the same pose. Despite this state of affairs, he has produced a series of photos where he mimics the poses of classical sculptures. But unlike a photo, the actual sculptures will look different from different angles. Even if Soinio could copy the poses accurately, they could still be considered failures, since the sculpted poses often defy gravity. Nevertheless, he usually takes hundreds of shots to get a photo of a single pose.

Instead of seeing these images as self-portraits, he prefers to call them auto-portraits. He works tell a story, reveal certain qualities. His photos take the form of real self-portraits only rarely.

What is the difference between self portraiture and photographing oneself? The artist as a model or an image of the artist?
Much of my art has focused on subverting traditional constructs of masculinity. Using myself as the model, I have sought to question received notions of manhood, the male body and the very act of viewing and seeing itself.
The naked body can be, at times, seen as a caricature of self-sufficient male identity. I position myself
somewhere between self-portrait and storytelling, into a sphere where I can direct actions and play roles and characters.

Torggata Blad er et kompromissløst uavhengig blad og nettmagasin – en humoristisk, systemkritisk og informativ utgivelse som sparker til venstre og høyre, oppover og nedover og midt i balla.

Pr. 2023 er Torggata Blad et forum for en fargerik forsamling av bidragsytere med varierende interesser og orientering. Det er en rar og forhåpentligvis skjærende stemme i koret av norske magasinutgivelser.

Torggata Blad ble grunnlagt i 2007 av
Bror Wyller (forfatter og lege)

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