April 18-23, 2017
University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts

Janet Biggs

If Ever I Would Leave You

Multimedia artist Janet Biggs offers a performance based on heroic individual stories of struggles with Alzheimer’s disease. Presented in collaboration with the University of Houston Blaffer Art Museum and independent curator, Janet Phelps, If Ever I Would Leave You merges the intimacy of a fleeting memory with the rigor of an optical seizure. Taking its […]

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About The Project

Multimedia artist Janet Biggs offers a performance based on heroic individual stories of struggles with Alzheimer’s disease. Presented in collaboration with the University of Houston Blaffer Art Museum and independent curator, Janet Phelps, If Ever I Would Leave You merges the intimacy of a fleeting memory with the rigor of an optical seizure. Taking its title from one of the artist’s grandfather’s favorite songs, If Ever I Would Leave You looks at loss, desire, chaos and control in the face of a fading sense of self.

Biggs combines projected video images from her own memories with images culled from the local community to create a new narrative. Live actors, musicians and vocalists perform a dance of repeated rituals, reflecting the futile struggle to maintain control amongst the fraying fabric of a mind.. Using cutting edge scientific research on memory implanting, altering and erasure, Biggs creates negative memory evoking her earliest experiences of autonomous identity, power and freedom. The performance ends with a lone vocalist singing the title song. As each verse is sung, more and more words are absent until there is only silence.

About The Artist

Janet Biggs is an American artist, known primarily for her work in video, photography and performance. She is based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her undergraduate degree from Moore College of Art, and pursued graduate studies at Rhode Island School of Design. She has had solo exhibitions and film screenings at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Tampa Museum of Art; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art; Mint Museum of Art; Everson Museum of Art; Gibbes Museum of Art; Rhode Island School of Design Museum; Vantaa Art Museum, Finland; Linkopings Konsthall, Passagen, Sweden; the Oberosterreichisches Landesmuseum, Austria; and the Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, Australia, among others. Biggs is the recipient of numerous grants including the Electronic Media and Film Program at the New York State Council on the Arts Award, the Arctic Circle Fellowship/Residency, Art Matters, Inc., the Wexner Center Media Arts Program Residency, the Anonymous Was a Woman Award, and the NEA Fellowship Award. Her work is included in the collections of the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC), Languedoc-Roussillon, France; the Zabludowicz Collection, London; Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl (Ruhr Kunst Museen), Marl, Germany; the Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL: the High Museum, Atlanta, GA; the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, NC; Gibbes Museum of Art, Charleston, NC; and the New Britain Museum of Art, New Britain, CT.