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Gina Pane

French Performance and Land Artist

Gina Pane Photo
Movements and Styles: Body Art, Performance Art, Earth Art, Feminist Art

Born: May 24, 1939 - Biarritz, France

Died: March 6, 1990 - Paris, France

"My problem is to establish a language through this wound that becomes a sign."

Summary of Gina Pane

As we walk through this world, our bodies become our most intimate vessels, imprinted with both the personal and collective experiences of our existence. French artist Gina Pane's artistic career was carved out of using her own body as a symbol for humanity's universal body - a canvas on which to express communal concerns surrounding sexuality, spirituality, gender, politics, feminism, the environment, and suffering. Pane's work contributed greatly to Art Corporel, the French Body Art movement, in which artists use their own flesh and blood as art medium, laying bare the body's strength and fragility as a viable tool for expression.

Key Ideas

Pane is most noted for her "azioni" pieces, in which she would perform a strategic set of "actions" upon herself, oftentimes requiring high levels of the physical endurance and tolerance for pain. By using her own body, she invited the audience to resonate deeply with the feelings she was going through or trying to convey, igniting empathy and relative emotionality.
Pane was very interested in the visual language of ritual and executed her performances with this in mind. She borrowed heavily from religious rites and other self-sacrificial practices to create her own contemporary versions of the relationship between the personal and the spiritual.
Pane's work emerged when many artists were starting to exhibit the documentation of a conceptual work as the artwork itself. Many of her actions were done in private but meticulously staged and photographed so that the viewer would still viscerally feel the emotional depth of the piece even if they had not actually witnessed its creation.
Gina Pane Photo

Gina Pane was born in Biarritz, France in 1939 to an Italian father and an Austrian mother. She spent most of her youth in Italy and grew up speaking both Italian and French. Her father was a piano maker, and Pane explained that her use of felt in her art derived from her father's profession: "It's the first material I came into contact with, when I was a child, cutting discs for the pianos to be repaired."

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