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Kris Canavan

In his controversial performance art, the Irish Aktion artist takes hooks and suspension cords to his body in his intriguing practice

Born in Northern Ireland, raised in Exmoor and now living in Newcastle, artist Kris Canavan performs body-based aktions which often involve the insertion of hooks and suspension cords into his body. Canavan explains he undertakes ‘a great deal of mental preparation’ before a performance and tells Dazed more about his intriguing artistic practice.

Dazed Digital: How does living in Newcastle affect your practice?
Kris Canavan: I reside in the outskirts of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, the middle finger of miners and the 'Jarrow Crusaders' aimed at Governments whom abandon the people they are supposed to be helping, resonates strongly here for me. In short, my practice has become more aggressive and focused since moving here.

DD: Tell us about being a New Aktionist.
Kris Canavan: Aktionism is not new, it's a reminder of how we work. Sharing = Culture and Sharing stands in direct opposition to law and blind consumption.

DD: Why is it important for you to use your body through performance?
Kris Canavan: Because this is all we are born with. Because I am not ashamed of my body. Because my body is a tool with which I interact with the world around me. Because the body is the frontline. Because the body is political. Because...

DD: Which artists inspire you?
Kris Canavan: There are so many… Nicola and Maxim Canavan, Nick Kilby, Holly Johnson, Kimberley Emeny, Juli Watson, Gyrl Grip, Ron Athey, Franko B, Viennese Aktionists, Pierre Molinier, Alexander McQueen, Gina Pane, amino, :zoviet*france: , TRANS/HUMAN, Bob Flanagan, Michael Mayhew, etc, etc... 

DD: What's next?
Kris Canavan: I am currently developing a new aktion "MURAL [in the aftermath of the red right hand]" with the help of amino as well as continuing the development of a collaborative project with Nick Kilby and Llewyn Máire under the banner YOTP. For all updates on locations of aktions etc, visit my website, Twitter or Facebook accounts.

Photography  Rachael Allen, Bobby, Becca, and Arto Polus.