This is Barbara Cleveland


Concept, Direction and Performance Barbara Cleveland (Frances Barrett, Kate Blackmore, Kelly Doley, Diana Smith)
Sound & Video Elliot Hughes
Editor Kate Blackmore
Composer Lucy Phelan




Single Channel Video Installation, 17mins

This project was commissioned by Performance Space for their 40th anniversary exhibition ‘You’re History’ in 2013, with support from the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.


This is Barbara Cleveland is the second in a series of works exploring the life and legacy of the mythic performance artist Barbara Cleveland. During a brief period from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, Cleveland is said to have produced a series of provocative, implicitly feminist performances before disappearing under mysterious circumstances.

This is Barbara Cleveland takes as its starting point Cleveland’s 1980 performance ­– A lecture on Everything and Nothing. The artists re-enact this text and re-stage a series of 1970s performances, as well as reflecting on Cleveland’s position in Australian art history. Here Cleveland’s story becomes a way to explore a series of broader themes: the legacies of ephemeral art and feminist histories, the complex status of the performance trace, and questions of authorship and authenticity.