Abbot Adam: Matins/Lauds

Curated by Harry Philbrick, Tina Plokarz

two people performing in theatre
two men wrapped in robes embrace each other in distress
two men in nun outfits perform in front of hanging fabric
two men looking distressed a lit by blue light and speak in microphones wearing robes
two men silhouetted in a red light perform

In July 2017, Philadelphia Contemporary presented Abbot Adam: Matins/Lauds, a three-night performance installation that explored creativity and devotion through temporal and circadian disruption. In the tradition of Dr. Albert Barnes’s support of emerging contemporary artists, the Barnes Foundation partnered with Philadelphia Contemporary to present a new work by No Face Performance Group, the collaborative partnership of artists Jaime Maseda and Mark McCloughan. Matins/Lauds is the latest installment of Abbot Adam, an ongoing series of works that uses the structure of medieval monasticism—specifically the rigorous practice of hourly prayer—to examine the concepts of commitment, community, and desire. While in residence in the Barnes Foundation's Annenberg Court for three consecutive nights, the artists, performing as medieval nuns, engaged in a devotional practice from midnight to sunrise. Alternating periods of improvised creation with brief cycles of sleep, the performers spontaneously composed a night in the abbey as mundanity gives way to delirium. 


The first two nights, July 6–7, were live-streamed at The third night of the installation, July 8, was open for the public to witness in person. All were welcome to watch, sleep, and peruse archived iterations of No Face Performance Group's captivating and powerful practice at this midnight vigil at the Barnes.

About the Artists

No Face Performance Group is the collaborative project of performing artists Jaime Maseda and Mark McCloughan. Working as a duo and with a revolving group of associate artists, they make performances using a wide variety of processes and sources. No Face was founded in 2007 to explore a performer-driven creation process. Since then, the group has created sixteen-odd original works.

Jaime Maseda is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. He is one half of No Face Performance Group, a collaborative partnership with NYC-based Mark McCloughan. Working with a revolving group of associate artists, they’ve been making performances using a wide variety of processes and sources since 2007. Jaime has also performed and created with Pig Iron Theatre Company, Mel Krodman & Kelly Bond, Miguel Gutierrez, Magda & Chelsea, Alex Torra, Lightning Rod Special, and Orbiter 3. 

Mark McCloughan is an artist and writer in New York and has performed in all original works by No Face Performance Group. McCloughan has collaborated with other artists and companies, including Eiko Otake, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, New Paradise Laboratories, Gabrielle Revlock, Spencer Sheridan/Public Trust, Melissa Krodman & Kelly Bond, and Jenna Horton. His conceptual drag project Ms. Teena Geist has performed at venues around Philadelphia, including the Institute of Contemporary Art and Vox Populi.