Irina Danilova // Quadrennial Shaving Performance ‘Hair Harvesting’

5.30PM 31 AUGUST 2016 -

A performance of symbolic hair cutting that takes place every 4 years.



Danilova’s practice in concerned with sustaining life-long artistic projects; the Quadrennial Hair Harvesting performance is one of many. She has exhibited and performed extensively around the world, largely in conjunction with Project 59, an initiative dedicated to providing alternative opportunities for unconventional and underrepresented artists from around the globe.

Danilova’s work is post-conceptual and temporal in nature and is registered in the form of various events over the course of a life-time. Echoing the Fluxus tradition, Danilova has to date collected seven braids of her own hair that have been cut during performances staged in different global locations every four years. These braids make up her series Meaning of Life, which references both the artist’s practice and life. This performance at The Lock-Up will be the eighth iteration of this ongoing work. 


Life itself became an art material in the second part of 20th century. Scrupulously counting the time of his life, On Kawara became the first artist of ‘life long projects.’ He was a spectator, working with the time of his life without alteration of life itself (only its constant counting). Teh-Ching Hsieh became the first artist to alter his life through the series of one-year projects. During one, he was growing hair and photo-documenting it. His series of one-year projects stopped by mid 1980s when Linda Mary Montano unleashed her '7 Years of Living Art' project. She applied a single color to as many things as possible, such as clothes, walls, etc., following the colors of Chakras for seven years, one year for each chakra. Meant to last her entire life, it ran for 14 years, repeating the project cycle twice.

Irina Danilova's Quadrennial Shaving Performance started in Ukraine coincidently in the same year with Linda Mary Montano’s project. Being isolated in Soviet Ukraine from contemporary Western Art, she did not have any idea about On Kawara, Teh-Ching Hsieh or Linda Mary Montano. The artist began cutting hair in Kharkov before moving to Moscow representing the end of Kharkov period and beginning of a new, Moscow time. A few months later Irina realized that it coincidently happened on the day when the influential Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva committed suicide in 1942. ‘I wanted to cut my hair again in her memory but there was not much hair yet.’ - Irina said. It was a leap year. She decided to wait for the next one. Four years later she harvested the first braid in her collection of braids. There are 7 braids now. The name of braid collection is ‘Meaning of Life.’ If not the meaning, it is definitely a timeline of Irina's life, cut into periods of four years.