Profile of the Week: Sabrina Iacono

Sabrina Iacono grew up in Montreal and moved to Toronto where she received a BFA in Criticism in Curatorial Practice with Distinction in OCAD University. Her performance based practice explores themes of behavior, trauma and mental health. Her work explores how bodies preform differently in public and private settings, utilizing performance as research for constructed behaviors.

How has your upbringing influenced you as an artist today?

I’ve had very conflicting emotions towards my upbringing. I was exposed to a lot of greed and violence, which produced a lot of negativity and pain in my life. My experiences with that and with my father’s murder have really influenced the way I approach art and curating. I’ve developed a lot of care for community and for the communities I am a part of and that has definitely influenced me as an artist/curator.

What stories or messages do you wish to tell through your creations?

My work focused on anxiety for a few years and that is still prominent in how I approach my work. But my current work focuses on performance art, scores and documents that aim to explore structures of behaviour and normalcy that are reflected in everyday life. I write scores for others (and sometimes myself) to perform. These scores are inspired by some of my experiences with living with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and aim to challenge ideas of normalcy and the performance of the self. These performances aim to push the boundaries of appropriate behaviour and oppose our idea of “rational” behaviour.

What challenges have you found pursuing a creative career? What advice would you give to emerging artists?

The biggest challenge I faced in the years I spent at OCAD was trying to cope with severe anxiety while also exploring my practice. I often put my work first and forgot to care for myself. I’m not sure if I am in a position to give advice to emerging artists as I am still one myself. But I would probably have to say that it’s okay to take some time away from your practice to explore other things or even just to take care of yourself and return to it with positive thoughts when the time is right. Sometimes that takes a lot of time.

What power do you believe art can have? Are there any pieces of art or artists that have inspired you?

I think that art has many powers that are specific to each artist, whether it helps them have a stronger voice or express themselves through materials and processes. In my case, the ability to use my body in performance art has enabled me to express bodily and emotional pain that I struggled to convey through painting or drawing based processes.

I’ve found inspiration through many works over the years it’s so hard to choose specifics. Many of those works were made by inspiring women such as Adrian Piper, Janine Antoni, Rebecca Belmore, Andrea Fraser and Esther Ferrer and have definitely influenced my work and research.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on various projects that don’t necessarily relate to each other. After taking some time away from my performance and research based work, I’ve recently started working on new scores for the Irrational Actions project and exploring different methods of approaching my curatorial practice that don’t require in-person experiences. I’ve been expanding my digital skills through photoshop, website building and 3D modelling. These processes have really encouraged me to look at alternatives of making and showing works in the current isolating COVID-19 pandemic.

A brief look into Sabrina’s work:

Recording Body Pain

2020

This performance enacts different ways of recording my body’s history with pain, trauma, anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Using bandages, topical creams, adult diapers, bubble wrap and tape, I progressively bubble-wrap the areas of my body that narrate a history of pain. I cover up most of my body in bubble wrap (ankles, wrists, arms, thighs, right shoulder, neck, head, mouth, groin, lower spine). Once I am fully covered, I follow a specific score that involves taping mop heads to my hands and knees and cleaning with my body until the puddle wrap unwraps off my skin.

Scores from Irrational Actions

2020

Irrational Actions is a new ongoing project that explores and confronts constructed behaviours in the every day performance of the self through performance art, scores and documents. It investigates the difference between the public self and private self through a series of scores written for others to perform and interpret differently.

Please visit http://www.irrationalactions.com for more info

Each score is inspired by behaviours that are often viewed as irrational. The actions in these scores are often counter-productive, purposeless, and confusing to follow. They interrupt the constructed self by encouraging the performer to indulge in discouraged behaviours.

Inside Out Documents 2019

The Inside Out series explores curatorial processes and different spaces that art occupies. Placing an importance on the wall, these performances push the boundaries of the expanded curatorial field and explore curatorial space as a performative site.

Check out more of Sabrina’s work

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