Throughout its existence, the artwork has gone through several evolutions and modifications to its physicality as well as with its relations to the world and the audience. Beginning with such simplistic intentions as cave paintings for communicative purposes, to pieces of work made only for aesthetic and decorative purposes, to entire productions involving the audience, the environment and the time into the artwork. The practices of Installation and Performance art have been the fundamental starting point for these such changes. Artists such as Mike Parr and Ken Unsworth (listed in their fields respectively) recognize and accept these changes and interpret them in their artworks.
Art began around 15 000 BC, often favouring drawing over colour in forms such as cave paintings. There have been changes from emphasis on geometrical shapes such as mosaics and arches, religious and gothic-based, in which art evolved from it's two dimensions and was practised in sculpture format, the Victorian and art Nouveau-influenced craft movements in which art became decoration through to Dada in which the art was taken off the canvas - new materials and exhibiting practises were used to encourage stronger responses from the audience.
Subject matter had changed from communicative, to aesthetic, to political, social and emotional.
Dada was the jump-off point for performance art. The origin is said to be found in 1917 in Zurich, where several notable Dadaists, spoke nonsensical words to complement nonsense acts to protest the Great War and the importance of art in general: "...No more cute art in frames, no more static art that only makes the Philistines richer."
An integral part of the ritual of performance art is it's ephemerality - it is not static like most artworks. After it is finished nothing will be the same again and nothing is left. Performance art is described...