Why Do Swimmers Suddenly Appear, 2023
Photographs by René Razovy
In the performance Why Do Swimmers Suddenly Appear, a stage is set with a DIY pool section, three concrete podiums on wheels, cut out paintings of a swimmer, and two oversized speedos. Everything works as a scenography for the performance, where a male swimming competition takes place on the exhibition's opening and closing days. The swimmers, carrying their concrete podium by vibrant red straps, stretch themselves against the pool backdrop as energetic music sets the tone. The trainer's whistle marks the climax, the moment in which the swimmers take their marks, the whistle sounds again and the tune shifts to Burt Bacharach's They Long To Be (Close to You). Unexpectedly, the swimmers execute a captivating slow-motion vertical stroke, as if they were swimming freestyle vertically. Slowly concluding their swim, going down from the podium, and removing their goggles and caps. The piece culminates in a tender hug of the three swimmers
This performance is based on the artist's personal experience in competitive swimming during high school, where the pool offered him solace, despite the competitive machismo in the sport. The title, inspired by The Carpenters' lyrics, They Long To Be (Close to You). The work explores notions of machismo, architecture and invites to question fixed notions of masculinity within swimming and patriarchal societies.