Sylvia Schwenk’s practice looks at the relationship between performance and the everyday, reflecting upon the significance and beauty of commonplace activities and spaces.
Sometimes she captures a moment, space or action with photographs, films, text and/or installations. Other times she creates works which focus on inter-human relational practices that emphasise collaboration, dialogue and audience activation. These socially based works of participatory performance art using what she calls performosis – a process where everyday people become performers, and spectators and passers-by performing their daily activities become active parts in the work of performance art Sylvia directs.
Sylvia is an artist of international standing who performs and exhibits her work in Europe, the USA, India and Australia. She is the recipient of numerous commissions, awards, grants and scholarships. Her work is held in public and private art collections including a recent acquisition by Stanford University, USA. Her short films are screened at international film festivals including: the ‘12th In the Palace International Short Film Festival’ Sofia, Bulgaria, The Contemporary Art Fair Ruhr (‘CAR’), Essen, Germany, and the 8th and 9th Berlin International Directors’ Lounge Festivals, Berlin Germany.
Her commissioned work of performance art for ‘Art month’ was performed on the lawns of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney and she was commissioned by the European Union to create a work of participatory performance art on the German and Dutch border. Most recently she was commissioned by Mosman Art Gallery and HMAS Penguin to create a work about the Royal Australian Navy.
Sylvia completed her Doctorate at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney Australia. She also studied at the Koln International School of Design and the Universitat der Kunste Berlin, Germany. She has completed artist residencies with the Kunstlerdorf Schoppingen, Germany, albb Saigon, Vietnam, the Academy of the Arts, University of Tasmania, Mosman Art Gallery and HMAS Penguin. Sylvia also presents conference papers and lectures about her research on performance art and her artistic practice locally and internationally.
Born in Germany. Lives and works in Sydney, Australia.