I’m at artBOX on 17E, it’s the first time I’ve been here and the first time I’ve managed to catch Adam Waldron-Blain in one of his pieces as well. I didn’t know he’d be performing, so having finally caught Adam Waldron-Blain plays nothing but this hits is an extra treat. The large concrete space at the back of the gallery suits his performance in a strangely beautiful way.
His well tailored grey suit that Coral Short openly admired for it’s style, aesthetically matches the mostly monochromatic palette of the room while emphasizing how unusual it is to see a man so well dressed, playing violin, and singing in a space like this. A glass of water, necessary for his extended musical performance, often mistaken for his ‘hat’ as though he were busking, sits in front of him.
In person, his singing voice is far more beautiful than I had realized, I had previously seen only the video blog which helped to inspire this performance.
“I miss you most of all my darling when the autumn leaves start to fall. The falling leaves… red and gold I see your lips those summer kisses, sunburnt hands, used to hold…. since you went away, the days are long…. “
The beauty of performance art like this, is the strange persistence of it – a specific characteristic to be found in few other mediums. What is acceptable here would be inappropriate in a theatre or at a dance recital. In the next room over, people are engaged in conversations to which Adam is a mourning soundtrack. Viewers come in from the next room, sit a while, fixed on Adam’s performance, before going back to the other space, trickling in and out.
The isolation of Adam’s performance, which continues for hours regardless of the audience’s movement, is incredibly sincere and vulnerable, though he maintains an air of dignity and confidence. I imagine that the audience’s ability to come and go is necessary. As I near an hour of watching Adam perform, I begin to want to leave the space, to disrupt his hypnotic repetition with the conversation from the next room, or a view through the windows that this concrete space lacks. His song and persistent, repetitious performance are affecting. I find my mood beginning to mimic his yearning tune.
Adam has been playing Autumn Leaves since 5:00 PM it’s now and it’s nearing 8:00 PM.
“Since you went away, the days are long…. winter song. But I miss you most of all my darling when autumn leaves start to fall.”
It’s fall now. I wonder how standing here, singing this song over and over affects Adam. Or if it does. Perhaps that’s his skill as an artist, enduring the act of singing this way, to affect us. I wonder if he can remain distant.
He lowers his violin, seems to loosen his bow strings, smiles a bit sheepishly, drinks his water, and leaves the room. Onlookers clap but he only briefly acknowledges them. The performance that is so strangely present and casual in its persistence also ends in this way, as Adam exits the room as though he had been doing nothing out of the ordinary.
“The falling leaves outside the window, the autumn leaves of red and gold. I see your lips, those summer kisses….. since you went away the days are long, soon I’ll hear… winter song… the falling leaves drift by the window the falling leaves of red and gold.