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Gary Stevens

1990 – 2024

A performer rehearses carrying plates from one table to another and subsequently each plate falls and smashes on the floor. A pile of crockery survives the journey and is laid out on the table. Cups are knocked over in clumsy fitful movements but in a strict sequence.

The fragility of the ceramic objects becomes an obsessional interest. The performer manages to smash all the item of crockery except for one. A cup is placed on the very edge of the table. It repeatedly falls and is caught just before it hits the ground, but the pattern is broken when it is given a sudden slap and sent flying across the room. A teapot slips slowly through his fingers. Other things are smashed as he leaps to save them. Only a vase spinning around on its side remains intact.

Commissioned by Katy Sender for Live Art Week, Serpentine Gallery, 1990

Performed by Gary Stevens
Assisted by Terry Smith