performance artist working across live and recorded contexts
including performance, moving image, photography and installation
I use my body as an activated and politicized site, brining charged materials to it to envisage ‘insideness’ and externalize the unconscious. I make site-responsive and intimate time-based work both live with the audience as witness and in isolation in derelict buildings and remote landscapes with my camera as witness.
Through somatic enquiry as quiet activism I use my body as a visceral material to turn feelings of vulnerability into empowering actions that reclaim the sensual as a political tactic to expose and overcome invisible codes of violence on women’s bodies.
Using performance as a tool for transformation and female ascension I explore recurring themes of therianthropy, metamorphosis and rebirth. I investigate how corporeal embodiment in durational and endurance based performance can engender ‘kinesthetic empathy’ and how the sensing physical body performs and aesthetics of feeling and, in turn, its own political agency.
I seek to reveal the tension between acts of persistence and plasticity through the material alchemy of my practice. I view the photographic documentation of my performances as crystallizations of living images.
In ‘Double Headed Sphinx’ Miller is physically attached to her doppelgänger at the waist. As sphinxes represent guardians to the underworld and are perceived as transition symbols of life to death thresholds, Miller’s appearance as a sphinx represents a protective symbol of her own subconscious.
Throughout 2019 Miller carried out a private year long performance that resulted in a public single channel moving image work and series of twelve photographic prints.
She documented her monthly menstrual cycle by imprinting the lining of her womb upon silk ties every time it renewed.
This repetitive action seeks to mark the tension between career and childbirth in relation to women’s ticking body clock of fertility.
This work seeks to overcome the shame associated with menstruation that compels women and girls to conceal their menstrual events as social taboo.
It explores the tension of women being mother and/ or worker, fears and expectations of childbirth, social conditioning and women’s choice.
In this performance Miller covers her body in a crimson pigment that makes her appear as if she is wearing her skin inside out and seeks to challenge the fetishism of female flesh by drawing on the quote ‘a shallow hole rose on red’ (Gertrude Stein: Tender Buttons).
Turning red alienates her from her natural surroundings, causing her body to become a locus for visual confusion by disrupting the harmonious association between women and nature.
These photographs document her cyclical performance process from clean – dirty – clean.
The full-length mirror used in the beginning as a protective shield becomes a sliver of bath water that acts as a cleansing physic envelope.
As a performance artist and embodied feminist using my body as raw material means that some of the more explicit nudity in my work is not permitted by Instagram. Personally I do not like deleting/ blurring/ covering the nipple as I feel this alters and compromises the imagery I am creating. I have dealt with this by posting certain works on Instagram and more explicit works on my website where I have full autonomy on how they are presented.
“flower workNayyirah Waheed, Salt
soft in fire
Hollie Miller is a performance artist with an interdisciplinary practice and background in contemporary dance. She has performed internationally in the UK, Europe, Finland, Switzerland, Argentina and Japan in contemporary art galleries, museums, land art and performance art festivals. She holds an MA from Royal College of Art (2016) and a BPA from Northern School of Contemporary Dance (2010).
She has been awarded artist residencies at Hogchester Arts (UK), NAIRS Contemporary Art Center (CH), Serlachius Museum (FI) and La Ira de Dios (AR). Her short films have been shown at feminist film festivals internationally and in 2019 she won the Next Thing Moving Image Award at Bury Art Museum (UK). Select performances include: MEM Experimental Festival Bilbao (ES), Land Art Biennale Art Safiental (CH), Revolve Performance Art Days (SE), London’s Biennale of International Performance Art and Noise, Apulia Land Art festival (IL) and 100 years DADA (JP).