Joshua Sofaer: Performance | Objects | Participation


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With a mixture of intellect, humour, and striking design, Joshua Sofaer: Performance | Objects | Participation analyses the artist’s oeuvre in the contexts of liveness, visual art and participatory practices.

Joshua Sofaer works across boundaries, borders and disciplines to create artworks that engage with all levels of society. In cultural institutions or on the street, for art galleries or personal homes, staged as operas or cast as golden sculptures, Sofaer’s work weaves with and through social fabric to consider the ideas that hold us together.

Co-published with Intellect Books for Intellect Live, this lavishly illustrated volume is the first in-depth study of the artist’s work, featuring discussions with producers and participants, documentary images and a new photographic essay, interviews with the artist himself, and thirteen commissioned essays by scholars, curators and artists from the perspectives of performance studies, archaeology and opera criticism. It explores the binding aesthetics of his approach as a model for contemporary practice, and it considers the impact of his work on audiences, institutions and pedagogy, as well as on fine art and performance ecologies as a whole.

The book features specially commissioned photographs by Hugo Glendinning and contributions by Nadia Abdelaziz, Yuan-Liang An, Stuart Andrews, Maddy Costa, Robin Deacon, Konstantina Georgelou, Simon Gould, Sarah Harvey, Yu-Chin Hsiao, Lois Keidan, Yu-Ying Kung, Carl Lavery, Stacy Makishi, Roberta Mock, Mary Paterson, Sibylle Peters, Joanna Sofaer, and Daniel Somerville.

Reviews & Press

Joshua Sofaer is a deeply attentive artist. His multifaceted works are careful, smart, witty and generous. At their heart sits the encounter: with ideas, people, places and objects. I can’t presume to ‘know’ Sofaer, but this gorgeous, layered and richly detailed book – an exquisite collection of documents, discussions and reflections – allows me to encounter him and to relish the unfolding perspectives.

Dee Heddon, Professor of Contemporary Performance, University of Glasgow

Joshua Sofaer operates in a predominantly relational field of artistic practice where the ‘artworks’ are so often site-specific, time- limited and ephemeral. This publication produces an analysis of practice that traverses art, society and theory. In doing so it offers an astute, polyphonic reading of a multi-layered practice. In the quality of its design, its rare combination of personal warmth and intellectual rigour, this book is truly greater than the sum of its parts. It is a waymaker, demonstrating how it is possible to reflect on and with an artist about their socially engaged and participatory practice in all of its artistic integrity and complex humanity.

Ailbhe Murphy, Director of Create Ireland

About Intellect Live

This publication is the seventh in the Intellect Live series.

Intellect Live is a collaboration between Intellect Books and the Live Art Development Agency on influential artists working at the edge of performance. The series is characterised by lavishly illustrated and beautifully designed books that are created through close collaborations between artists and writers, and that are the first substantial publication dedicated to the artists’ work.

View all titles in the Intellect Live series.

Publishing Information

ISBN 9781789380910

Published by Live Art Development Agency and Intellect Books, Spring 2020

Hardback, 250 x 200 mm, 288 pages with colour images throughout

Trade Orders: Intellect Books, see our Distribution page for more information

Additional information

Weight 1500.0 kg