Harminder Judge (Live Performance Art, 2011)The Modes of Al-Ikseer

Harminder Judge

Fellow in 2011 for Live Performance Art

As a British born Sikh artist, Judge is fascinated by the enduring appeal of faith and spirituality and likes to question the power and relevance of timeless myths and rituals. He explores the space that faith inhabits, both physical and metaphorical, in a post modern and largely secular society.

Judge says of his work, “I always keep an eye on my personal identity as a British Sikh who loves rock music and science fiction whilst also being genuinely fascinated and intrigued by the epic stories of religious history. I would site religious symbolism, mass conversion and the rituals of cults among my many influences, as well as ancient Eastern idolatry, pop music and Jesus”.

These fascinations combine to spectacular effect in The Modes of Al-Ikseer, an acclaimed touring performance funded by the Arts Council of England. The piece is based on ‘The Churning of the Ocean’, a beautiful Hindu myth concerning Amrit, the holy nectar which gives eternal life. A gallery is filled with a shallow pool containing 2.5 tonnes of ‘milk’. The performance takes place on a central, rotating island sculpture while pulsating electronic music plays and a neon sign encircling Judge’s body invites the audience to ‘pick up the receiver and I’ll make you a believer’.

The work is an attempt to capture the spirit of religion and the nausea of faith and has received wide critical acclaim for its unabashed juxtaposing of the complexities of religious mythology and faith in a world obsessed with celebrity and entertainment.