Breaking Limbs at the Krannert Art Museum

Limbs, an intriguing and eerie performance by Erica Gressman at the Krannert Art Museum

Written by: Bill Xun

Photo by Bill Xun

When I first arrived at the Krannert Art Museum, I had no idea what to expect.  The gallery was packed, with people and lights surrounding a strange metal tripod with some sort of sculpture of a figure hanging underneath. The figure was an unmoving combination of limbs in white. What could it mean?

It was only until a few minutes later that I realized –and surprised– that the artist was the suspended figure. When the performance started, I was even more amazed and confused than when I arrived. The artist begin spinning in place to the eerie violin sounds, slowly removing limb after limb. It was especially jarring hearing the limbs fall loudly to the ground.

Photo by Bill Xun

There was no speech during the entire performance, so the music and movement set a scene for you to interpret the piece by yourself without much guidance. I interpreted the piece as breaking free from a mold that other people try to shape you into, and in the end finding your true self and emerging out of that shell.

Photo by Bill Xun

After the end of the performance, there was a discussion with the artist and a few other invited speakers. It was interesting to hear how everyone had their interpretation of the piece, even though the artist explained the performance and the removal of limbs meant the loss of a loved one. This event was a new kind of experience for me, and I would definitely go again.

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