This is a video documenting the performance Tengo Tiempo / I have time, in which Miguel Benlloch, in what looks like an intimate ritual, undresses by very slowly taking off the many clothes that cover his body, until he is naked in front of the audience. This is an action that invites us to think about the body as a cultural object, as a container of time and as an accumulator of those experiences responsible for the construction of our identity. At the same time, the piece questions the concept of sexual identity as a socio-cultural construction and the categorical definitions which classify it: hetero, homo, bisexual.
After the introduction by his friend Federico Guzmán, Benlloch subtly appears on stage. As the audience notices his presence, silence takes hold of the room. The performance starts; Benlloch takes his red bathrobe off, a white djellaba, a straw hat, red gloves, etc. In a slow rhythm, he gets rid one by one of all the many clothes that are covering his body. It is a sort of intimate ceremony, lacking in spectacle but also in any sense of modesty, as the artist exhibits his body publicly. First one layer, then another and then one more; men’s clothes, women’s clothes, clothes from different cultural origins, clothes that belong to loved ones, that have their own personal history and that, by being put together in the same act, build a common history. Repetition, to undress in this case, is a gesture that is recurrent in Benlloch’s work, for whom “... the belief that repetition is a constitutive element of rite thinks of identity as a cultural construction and, thus, reconstructable and reritualizable, in permanent transit and reflection”.
When we expect to see Benlloch’s completely naked body, he reveals himself wearing a colour sequined miniskirt. This is his trademark skirt which he has used in some of his previous performances, starting with the first ones, those part of the so-called cutre chou of Granada, up to the last ones, like 51 géneros. Then comes nakedness. At the end, the performer unfolds a large white sheet that reads I have time / Tengo tiempo, time to construct, to deconstruct, to show, to reflect, to decide, to accept... The body as a cultural object and clothes as skin that is permanently shedding take us to new present times, those that have been accumulating in the memory of the subject and his surroundings. Tengo tiempo assesses the continuous future that is spoken as the present at the crossroads beetween choice and arbitrariness. It points to non-definition in relation to sex and gender and their relationship to the spiritual.
This video documents Benlloch’s performance Tengo tiempo which took place in The Kitchen in New York, at the presentation of the publication Time Capsule, edited by Robin Kahn. The performance was later presented at Planta Baja, Granada, and Mollá, Barcelona.
Clothes: red bathrobe, white djellaba, straw hat, egyptian hat, red gloves, white gloves, black trousers, black Marino and Juan Antonio blouse, black gloves, corduroy trousers, checked flannel shirt, red wool Maria José vest, black striped trousers, white Juan Carlos shirt with ant design, black Plus Ultra t-shirt, off-white summer trousers, orange gloves, colour striped top, sequined miniskirt, white underpants. Naked.
Camera: Jeff Kahn