The action: After my talk I ask the audience to leave their chairs and come closer to me. Without any form of mirror, I ask them to guide me verbally to place the tattoo machine in the middle of my forehead between my brows, in order to make a mark with red ink. Eventually I hand them the tattoo machine so that they can do the final touches.

From: ‘Enlightenment’, performance. Featured in the symposium ‘Love, Pain, Intimacy in Live Art’. Queen Mary University (London 2018) Picture: Orlando Myxx


I stand in a room in the dark. The audience can enter the room one person at a time and contemplate the palms of my hands softly lit by a spotlight.

From: ‘Spotlight’, performance. Featured in the exhibition ‘Experimenting with a wunderkammer of vanitas’, curated by Mario Casanova. MACT/CACT Contemporary Art Ticino. Bellinzona. Switzerland. Picture from the video by: Pier Giorgio De Pinto Pro © Litteris/Zurich.

‘An object of study’

“I trust the audience. I don’t just consider it merely to be an audience. Once we are in the same room at the same time and we are all focusing on each other, the audience is performing as much as I am. As things correctly stand, most of the time the public enters the room and sits waiting for the performer to create something that hopefully fulfils or perhaps disappoints their expectations. Only a few performers have escaped this format successfully.
I believe that a more critical approach from the audience is needed at the moment of the action. Not before. Not after.”

I. Lupi

From: ‘An object of study’, performance in collaboration with Ryan Ashley Caldwell. Queens Museum, New York. (September 2016). Photography courtesy of Hector Canonge, LiVEART.US, NYC.

From: ‘An object of study’, workshop and performance. Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, (CA). In collaboration with Professor Ryan Ashley Caldwell and Professor Aneil Rallin. A special thank you to all the participating students: Allyson Applebaum, Avanti Arseculeratne, Alexandria Brandon, Brandon Cavorsi, Stan Hogeweg, Hinako Irei, Dayoon Kim, Viktor Kristensen, Aileen Longmore, Ha Chau Ngo, Meera Paul, Aiko Robertson, Chinamy Sugiyama. (January 2017). Photography courtesy of Ryan Ashley Caldwell.
In times of radical political changes it becomes difficult to keep the focus on the importance of what ‘sharing’ means. How can we come together if we feel separated? How is it possible to exist together when we don’t know how to understand the other(ed)? Performance art, social movements and protests clearly blur into each other more and more in their attempt to raise awareness on the topic of ‘sharing,’ thereby creating confusion, noise and sometimes the erasure of important embodied self-narratives.
What we see happening on the street, in galleries or underground scenes is only the surface of a hidden landscape that unravels itself between the walls of our actual homes. They are interestingly connected —the individual, the group, and larger culture. Dialogues, interpretations, and meanings unfold about these spaces, “homes,” and stories of identity manifest.
Inspired by the private battles for our identities that we “do” within our closer circles of family, these clashes are what the sort of “domestic activism” challenges that are the point of departure for understanding this performance piece. If the family is the initial place for socialization about culture, it is certainly influential in determining not only how we come to see and engage with the world, but also in how we see and engage (and accept) ourselves. This approach is a secluded movement that sees ourselves involved on a daily basis where our body and embodiment plays a very important role in identity, activism, social relations (families, cultures, etc.), and beyond.
‘An Object of Study’ has been developing different stages at different times.
A): In the first stage the artist’s skin was the surface offered to Mishka Stein, an apprentice tattooist who participated in the project sharing a conversation with the artist while tattooing freehand 100 symbols on his body.
B:) The second stage was presented by the program LiVEART.US, curated by Hector Canonge and hosted at the Queens Museum in New York City, in which the artist offered his body as a performance tool for those present to “come together” and “experience together” an open and informal, theoretical and practical conversation on the themes triggered by Professor Ryan Ashley Caldwell from Soka University of America.
C): The third stage was an online workshop with the students of Soka University of America, during which the artist investigates the dynamics of performance art inviting the class as a community to design a new symbol to add to his skin.
‘An Object of Study’ is an ongoing project and it is currently developing a new series of workshops and interdisciplinary performances.




A photographer wraps me in a rainbow sac, binds me with rope, takes shots and frees me.

“Escapology’ is an ongoing project in collaboration with different photographers from all around the world.

From: ‘Ivan Lupi’s Circadian Rhythm’, ‘Escapology’, performance. Art Karoo, Oudtshoorn. South Africa. Picture by Wilhelm Vincent.


In 1917, Duchamp changed the original significance of a urinal, re-contextualizing it as a work of art, with the aim to shift the focus from art as mere physical crafting to a deeper intellectual interpretation.
Gender is often something I concern myself with when it comes to my art.
In this piece, I display myself as a urinal, placed in the middle of an art exhibition. The audience (of any gender) will be given the freedom to “use” me, should they feel the need, while interacting with other works.

From: ‘Ivan Lupi’s Circadian Rhythm’, ‘Fountain’, performance. Featured in the exhibition: ‘Versier’. Art Karoo. Oudtshoorn. South africa. Picture by Wilhelm Vincent.


‘Act of faith’

Take your place on the platform in one of the four points indicated by the fruit and say “Hi”. Eat some fruit if you feel like it while we share the present moment. You can stand as long as you like. You could also take my place once I’ve left.

In times where politics has reduced itself to low entertainment tuned to the annihiliation of the thinking of the masses, the artist’s responsibility is to stand vigil over the boundaries that separate true history from propaganda.

To make art today is to find a form of easy dialogue that faces in ever more directions, cultural, territorial, political, historical, ethnic.

The body stands like a tablet, a vessel, a flag. The body cannot stop reinterpreting history nor offering a vulnerable greeting that creates a space for the sharing of a conversation.

Art is not something we make. Art is there already and it blossoms at the moment where artist and audience bring their own personal contribution to a conversation that has philosophical and social value.
This is the genesis of art.


From: ‘Act of faith’, performance. Government Museum and Art College. Chandigarh. India. Picture by Jeetin Rangher.