Domestic Bliss

Silvia C Ziranek has always fascinated me and her name has come to light more than once as I've been researching certain corners of British performance art practice from the later part of the 20th Century.

She appears in the seminal, all woman ICA show About Time from 1980, and could be found regularly performing at the Basement Group's underground exhibition space in Newcastle around the same time.

Ziranek slips into a persona that is part middle class housewife, part society hostess; glamorous, eccentric, miraculous and possessed of the ability (as such models of feminine excellence were expected) to conjure perfection, charm and style with deftness and lightness. 

But her performances are tinged with the hyper-real hot fuscia of her notorious wardrobe and the cartoonish fluctuations of the adopted vernaculars and accents which characterise her poetic monologues. Her curious and brilliant performative texts chip away at the layers of the blissful veneer, with swirling undercurrents of mania and frustration; the words trip and cascade - like high brow dinner party conversations spinning through hints of darkness and doubt as the night wares on and the truth comes out. 

Listen here for the work Cooking with G*d (I (H)ate Solitude) from 1983.

Ziranek is still making work and news of upcoming performances can be found on her website

In the meanwhile, here are some of my favourite images from the archives....

All images © Silvia C Ziranek


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