Certain actions and themes return in a different form years later
The motif of the hanging man [THE LIVING ROOM, Amsterdam 1981] re-emerges in a performance in Eindhoven (NL, De Fabriek 1987- SILHOUETTES LIKE SHIVERING ANCIENT FEELINGS): this time the performance was carried out for two hours by sixteen figures dressed in black. Turn by turn half of them hung overstretched for five minutes from the curved ceiling down while the other half rested on the scaffolding after applauding to eachother, when unhooked) as well as in New York (1990- Franklin Furnace presents SPIRIT. Peter Baren performances featuring Seymour Likely and two homeless men).
The same year, 1987, HEARTH [Here Gather Nameless Energy] was produced for CENTURY 87 Modern Art face to face with Amsterdam’s past as part of Amsterdam Cultural Capital of Europe 1987. A performing sound- and light installation in and from the Mint tower. The irregular roaring sound of a red deer in heat disrupted traffic and the passers-by, and in the evenings a hissing gas flame was heard.
In 1988, for the main exhibition BEZUGSPUNKTE / POINTS OF REFERENCE 38/88 during the renowned Steirischer Herbst festival in Graz (A), Baren produced ECHO OF HYSTORIA. The city has a huge clocktower, that dominates the skyline and from there he hung a larger than life-size figure suspended from the hands of the clock, thus stopping time for the period that the exhibition lasted. ISLAND OF LOST SOULS, the second project, was refused without any official reason by Austrian Railway Company. It consists of doubling a proclamation, published in 1938 during the uprising of National-Socialism, and was to be handpainted in a blurry way on the huge window-pane in the Main Hall of the trainstation (every day till the very end of the exhibition).
For the final round of Prix de Rome 1989 Art&Theatre in Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, several scenes were produced; of which one was chosen to perform for the commissioned Macbeth [Only Fools Die]. My concept included work by other artists including Magdalena Abakanowicz, Gerrit van Bakel, Joseph Beuys, Martin Disler, Kiki Smith. The exhibition of source material by the finalists was shown at Museum Fodor.
WE WANNA LOSE OUR HEADS FOR ANYTHING [IN TIME] was a succession of crystallized emotions. Long-haired figures were held up with balloons, filled with heliumgas, in a bedding of shredded paper and only lit by sudden flashlights. The natural flow of time was sliced up. Several versions of WWLOHFA[IT] have been performed in: 1988- London (UK) SPRING TIDE. Chisenhale Dance Space and Gallery / 1989- Amsterdam (NL) BEYOND PERFORMANCE. Arti et Amicitiae / 1989- Zürich (CH) Shedhalle / PERFORMANCE TAGE. 1 2 3 November and in 1991- Katowice (POL) III. Spotkan. Teatru Wizji I Plastyki. Poltel Filmstudios.
A great number of very short SPIRIT. performances were presented as part of guided tours throughout a medieval fortress, blending reality (as we know it) with moments of recollection during Belluard Bollwerk International 1992, Fribourg (CH) and a selection in Cyprian Majernik Gallery in Bratislava (SK) 1992 alongside the exhibition HILLS + MILLS. In 1990 the first selection of SPIRIT. performances took place in New York (US) via Franklin Furnace presents PETER BAREN featuring SEYMOUR LIKELY.
CARESSING THE DIKE  celebrated the making of dikes and the struggle to protect the land from being flooded. During DIKEWATCH. Art and poetry on the borders of Flevoland everyday for three months (near Lelystad – polder district tractor gently rotated an impressive selection of casted hands across parts of a dike of workmen who built the dikes (in the fifties), inhabitants of the district itself and visitors to the performance., across a dike.
During TransArt Communication 1997, PROGRESS PROGRESS was performed as the missing allegory on top of the timpanon of Műcsarnok – Palace of Exhibitions and on Heroes Square, Budapest (HU). Also rooftopping Cinema MIER (Trans Art Communication. Nové Zámky SK)
ABBEY ROAD / 2001 PITFALLS, consisted of a full days walk (September 1, 2000 – with Koos Dalstra), started from the geographical center of Zeeland, a southern province in The Netherlands: where two monks found pumpkins (on that very spot) and brought them to socalled Zeeuwse Meisjes (young maids in folkloristic costumes) who were awaiting them in the main square of the capital city, Middelburg. It is said that the seed of pumpkins raises fertility.
BEGGARS BANQUET. Ongoing series of a well-dressed man yet in beggar position, demanded passers-by to DISCOVER HEAVEN and showing examples how to achieve that. First appearances in Nové Zámky and Bratislava (SK) during TransArtCommunication 2002 / around the city of Venice, alongside the preview of 50th Biennale di Venezia (Italy) 2003/ Cleveland’s PAF/ International Performance Art Festival 2003, Ohio MA (US) Tate Modern Gardens, London (UK) in 2003, ASIATOPIA#10, Bangkok Arts and Culture Center BACC, Bangkok 2008 (TH), 6. INFRACTION, Sete 2010 (FR).
In 2004 the ARK series started life in New York City during Currency 2004, an international festival of contemporary performance. Operatic in nature, ARK ( ) finds a meeting ground between sensual bewilderment and political commentary which points out the constructed nature of our ideas of cultural memory and our sometimes superficial notions of identity.
One example from this series: ARK (ON HOPE AND OTHER TERMINAL BODIES SUCH AS BRIDGE OF SIGHS, SLEEP OF REASON AND WAILING WALL) was performed during BLURRR 5. Biennial of Performance Art. Tel Aviv (Israel), Nov. 2005.
For three days in a row, a young man with his head scarved in and dangling satellites from his outstretched fingers, was lead out of CCA Gallery and was process(ion)ed along different sites where suicide-bombings took place, such as shopping streets, market, crossroads, busstation, and seaside.
Several actions took place at that seaside: writing the word HOPE (in different languages) in the sand around the (exhausted) scarved figure, still holding up the dangling satellites – throwing a boomerang towards the sea with SPIRIT written on it and after tearing the shirt opposite the scarved figure, return to CCA-
Other selected extended ARK version in this series: [2005-2012] LIVE. Biennial for Performance Art in Vancouver, Canada (Oct. 2005)- The National Review of Live Art/NEW MOVES INTERNATIONAL. Tramway, Glasgow (UK) Feb. 2007- 10th OPEN International Performance Art festival. 798 Art Zone, Beijing (CN), Au gust 2009- 3. Preavis de Desordre Urbain. Marseille (F), Sep. 2009- The Manifold (after) Lives of Performance. Frascati theatre/de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam (NL) and PLAYGROUND festival/ STUK kunstencentrum, Leuven (BE), Nov. 2009- InfrAction 6. Festival International d’Art Performance. Sete (F), Sep. 2010- An Elusive Sense Of Intimacy. GRACE. New York (US) Oct. 2010 Guangzhou Live 1.53 Art Museum, Guangzhou (CN), Dec. 2010- TRANSMUTED festival internacional de performance. Ex Teresa Arte Actual, Mexico City (MEX), April 2011- INTERAKCY. 14th International Action Art Festival. Galeria ODA, Piotrkow Trybunalski (POL), May 2012-
In 2013 a new [ongoing] series came to life: BLIND DATES WITH THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. First appearances during DEFRAMED. Infr’Action Venezia #2 alongside the preview of the 55th. Venice Biennial.
May 2014: His first extensive monography was presented at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam: BLIND DATES WITH THE HISTORY OF MANKIND. PERFORMANCES 1980 – 2013.
Selected BDWTHOM performances and other presentations: [since 2014 – PRESENT]
STAGE IT! Part 3. Series of presentations on performance art. Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (NL) May 2014 – ONCE UPON A TIME…THE COLLECTION NOW. Counter Cultures 1965-1985. Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (NL) 2014 – Graft and Transplant. Entity Concept Exhibition. Blue Roof Art Festival. Chengdu (CN) August 2014 – ANDERS SEIN. City of Neuss (DE) May 2015 (Produced by Kulturforum Alte Post) – A CALL FOR DRAWINGS. BAK basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht (NL) June 2015 – TheParallelShow#3. M Museum, Leuven (B) Dec. 2015 – RAPID PULSE#5. Defibrillator Gallery, Chicago (US) June 2016 – 12th VERBO. Performance Art Festival. Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo (BRA) July 2016 – MIP3. Manifestacão Internacional de Performance. SESC Palladium, Belo Horizonte (BRA) August 2016 – Préavis de Désordre Urbain #10. On borders and migrations. Marseille (F) Sep. 2016. ART ROTTERDAM. INTERSECTIONS. Van Nelle fabriek, Rotterdam (NL) with FLAM. Feb. 2017. FLAM VII. Forum of Live Art. Arti et Amicitiae and theater Frascati, Amsterdam (NL) June 2017 – BLAUVERSCHIEBUNG No10. Galerie KUB and Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig (DE) Dec. 2017 – The Parallel Show [#1-10]. Kunsthal, Rotterdam (NL) April 2018 – Fractured Bodies. TEMPTING FAILURE #18. London Biennial of Performance Art and Noise. Croydon district, London (UK) July 2018 – TAC#30. TransArt Communication festival. City of Nové Zámky (SK) Sep. 2018 – TAC#30. 1988-2018 The exhibition. Ernest Zmetak Gallery, Nové Zámky (SK) Sep./Oct. 2018 – ART ACTION 1998-2018. Le Lieu, Quebec (CAN) ieke Trinks lecture “Artists initiatives in The Netherlands”. Nov. 2018 – PROJECT ID. IN-BETWEEN IDENTIES. organized by P.S. Performance Site together with VestAndPage and Marilyn Arsem. The Hague (NL), performance and lecture, June/July 2019 – WHAT REMAINS. On the Sacred, Forgotten and Lost relics of art. ARC Gallery. Chicago (US). Produced by DFBRL8TR.org. Feb. 2020 – 8th UP-ON Live Art Festival. Chengdu (CN) Oct. 2020 – First International Triennial of Performance DEFORMES. Santiago (CL) Nov. 2020 – Twelve Years: The Archives of A Scene. UP-ON International Live Art Festival 2008 – 2020. Lushan Art Museum, Chengdu (CN) Nov. 2020 – February 2021 – WILD / ALIVE. 15th Anniversary. GRACE Exhibition Space, New York (US) Sep. 2021 / May 2022 – OVERLAPPING KASSEL. Different locations in the city and lecture in Koenigs-Galerie, Kassel (DE) June 2022 – THE WeighT OF LOVE [Blind Dates Of The History Of Mankind]. Lectures at National Theatre of Greece and National and Kapodistrian University including performance around Akropolis area, Athens [GR]. Dec. 2022 – Open field abierta campO. Peras de Olmo ARS CONTINUA, Buenos Aires (AR) Aug. 2023 – PERPENDICULAR Project #19. Museo Casa de Padre Toledo and Atlantic Forest, Tiradentes (BR) Sep. 2023 – PERFORMANCE. La Plataformance. Public performances around Av. Paulista and MASP, Sao Paulo (BR) Sep. 2023 – EQUINOX. Same But Different. Hof, Dordrecht (NL) Sep. 2023 – Performance THE WeighT OF LOVE [THIS UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS] during 12 Colors of Reality. Re-opening exhibition of Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava (SK) Oct. 2023 –
For up-to-date listings: LINK
Text excerpts by and thank you: IJsbrand van Veelen, Lance Blomgren, Werner Fenz, Bart Rutten, Andrei Tarkovsky, Rob Perree, Iggy Pop, Robert Fripp