Untitled by Lisa Bufano

Lisa Louise Bufano

USA | 1972–2013

An interdisciplinary artist and performer, Bufano often used prosthetics and props in her work. In a 2012 interview, she discussed how her many different ways of moving around, using “regular” legs, running legs, or no prosthetics at all, gave her “lots of different bodies.” The experience of changing her center of gravity and size led her to experiment with prosthetics in performance, including the forty-inch wooden stilts, fashioned from table legs, on display here. These enabled her to walk on all fours, or to rise up on two gracefully elongated limbs, in a manner that felt to her as “very animal and insect.”

The effect of her shape-shifting was electrifying for audiences, as she magically changes before our very eyes from one being into another as shown in the accompanying video. The strangeness of her transformations touched on a theme found throughout her work, and intrinsic within Disability culture, that is, the visceral experience of alienation, embodied by creatures, real and imagined. She personified a central question within Disability culture, that is, what does it mean to be human?

In the last 8 years of her life, Lisa performed for audiences in Brazil, France, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Canada and in venues across the United States including The Kennedy Theater in Washington D.C., The Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Judson Memorial Church in New York.

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Year: 2005–2008

Medium: Mixed media

Courtesy of the Bufano Family

Untitled by Lisa Bufano, 2005 - 2008. Mixed media.

Dimensions in inches, in order of height and width: 28” x 3”

The work is comprised of four 28” stilts of uniform design, each worn at the end of each limb by the artist. Their color is primarily red, with the hardware attaching each stilt to its respective limb colored black. Their surfaces appear smooth and are legs from an elegant, antique, Queen Anne style table. An accompanying video shows the artist performing on stage with the stilts.

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