I called the event Power Game. I intended it to be a farce depicting the absurdity of power. There was no script, no actors, no rehearsals. The farce occurred through people’s normal behaviour and their reactions to the situation in which I placed them.
Liliane Lijn, 1974
First presented in 1974, in the context of the International Festival for Democracy in Chile, at the Royal College of Art, London, Power Game is a collective performance staging a live representation of fantasies of power. Participants who are invited to play the game sit around the gambling table rivaling each other in a rhetoric and intellectual challenge to expose the structures behind notions of power, gender, identity.
At the heart of the game, loosely inspired by Chemin de Fer, is the capacity of the players to use their influence to find consensus and support from other participants. The performance doesn’t have a score nor a script and is based on the natural behaviour of the players, as well as on their ability to use language to procure power. There is no formula or acquired skill that guarantees success in the Power Game. On the contrary, players must bank on their originality, wit, charisma, and eloquence to win. It is in this aspect that Lijn succeeds in giving a fresh perspective on power and in representing its symbolic structures: besides luck or skill, the game mostly rewards those players who can make better use of their political intelligence. If on one side Power Game captures a poignant image of power in all its absurdity, on the other Lijn seems to remind us that power is a human practice with no predetermined winner. In the game—as in reality—power is a fluid negotiation between political beings, and it is established, defied, uprooted and subverted by the use of intellect and creativity.
Contrary to what has already been announced, this enactment will differ from the previous ones where the non-playing audience witnessed the performance in a separate location through a live broadcasting. At Rodeo, Piraeus, for the first time in its history Power Game will be performed live in front of the audience without any presence of cameras or live broadcasting. It is a natural adaptation of the original performance in an age of direct participation, to rediscover a more immediate relationship to the processes of power and a different possibility for defining democratic procedures altogether by players both active and passive.
In its first presentation in 1974, the Power Game included figures such as Derek Jarman, Michael Kustow and Patrick Seale. More recently, Power Game was staged at the ICA, the Zabludowicz Collection and the South Bank in London, and BALTIC in Gateshead.
At Rodeo, Piraeus, the performance is presented in the context of Lijn’s exhibtion Cosmic Dramas, which brings to Greece for the first time one of Liliane Lijn’s most important installations, Conjunction of the Opposites: The Woman of War and The Lady of the Wild Things (1983-86).
Holding Stone // New Edition
On the occasion of Power Game we are happy to present Holding Stone, a new edition by Liliane Lijn that relates to the act of touching, coming alive when held in one’s hands. This new piece originates from past research into shapes and materials conducted by Lijn during the mid-1980s, linking conceptually to the works currently exhibited at Rodeo. Holding Stone has been produced as a limited edition in an industrial foundry that has operated for more than one hundred years in Piraeus, becoming a historical landmark of the neighborhood.
Wine will be served.
For further information about Holding Stone contact firstname.lastname@example.org