Featured artist: Marina Abramović | ITSLIQUID

Featured artist: Marina Abramović

Art | July 29, 2012 |

Marina Abramović, Cleaning the mirror, 1995. Performance

Marina Abramović

Seductive, fearless and outrageous, the “grandmother of performing art” Marina Abramović has been the most avant-garde representative of performing and body art since the beginning of 70s. Using her own body as vehicle and subject of her art, she explores the physical and mental limits, the relationship between performer and audience and the possibilities of the mind. During her performances, her hyper intense and extremely sensorial body has been burnt, cut, rolled, scourged, whipped, violated and expiated: “The body’s boundaries are the subject of my creations. I will use the performance to push the physical and psychical limits beyond conscience”. In her work, audience’s reaction becomes part of the performance and the performance itselfs is ritualized and becomes a mental state in which the body can do things that normally will never do.

Marina Abramović, Art must be Beautiful, 1975. Performance

In her first performance, Rhythm 10 (1973), Abramović explored elements of ritual and gesture. She laid ten knives of different shapes and sizes on the floor, placed her left hand on a sheet of paper and played the Russian game of knives: she took a knife and she stuck it between her fingers as fast as she could. Each time she hurt herself, she changed the knives. The sound of the knife that was hitting the wood or the flesh was recorded with a voice recorder. After cutting herself ten times, she replayed the tape, listened to the sounds, and tried to repeat the same movements, attempting to replicate the mistakes, merging past and present. Abramović extended the visual tension to sound tension.

Marina Abramović, Balkan Erotic Epic, 2006. Still image

In Rhythm 5 (1974), Abramović poured oil on a star with five corners (the political emblem of communism of the former Yugoslavia) and set it on fire. Standing outside the star, she cut her nails, toenails, and hair and threw the clippings into the flames. As final act of purification, she leapt across the flames, sat into the center of the large star. Once inside the star, the artist lost consciousness from lack of oxygen. Some members of the audience realized what had occurred and a doctor and several members of the audience intervened and extricated her from the star. Abramović later commented upon this experience: “I was very angry because I understood there is a physical limit: when you lose consciousness you can’t be present; you can’t perform”.

Marina Abramović, Rest Energy, 1980. Performance with Ulay (left) – Marina Abramović, Imponderabilia, 1977. Performance with Ulay (right)

In Rhythm 0 (1974), she transformed her body into a passive object, without any reactive impulse; she placed upon a table 72 objects and wrote on a board: “There are 72 objects on the table, which you can use as you please”. Initially, members of the audience reacted with caution and modesty, but as time passed (and the artist remained impassive) people began to act more aggressively. They cut her clothes, they touched her most intimate places and they even aimed a gun at her head. For 6 hours she supported the actions without acting, than, as planned, she stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation. This performance proved the limits of the relationship between performer and audience and the imminent need of brutalization of the humankind. Rhythm 0 remains one of the most overwhelming provocations in the history of the performance and one of the most sensually painful conditions of corporeal abandonment.

Marina Abramović, Dozing Consciousness, 1997. Still image

Lips of Thomas (1975) is probably the most famous Abramović’s performance. In this work, she tested her body’s limits eating a kilo of honey and drinking a litre of wine, sat naked at a table. Than she crushed the glass in her hand, she took a blade and cut the shape of a star with five corners on her abdomen (image that has begun an icon of the performing art) and mechanically wiped herself until she no longer felt any pain. As final act, she sat bleeding on a cross-shaped piece of ice. Her body became a space of purifying self-sacrifice.

One of her recent works is Balkan Erotic Epic (2006) which was inspired by Balkan’s popular culture and the use of eroticism in its traditions. Abramović thinks that through the eroticism, the man aims at becoming alike gods. The work is composed by screens installation and a 12-minute film. From March 14 to May 31, 2010, MOMA held a major retrospective and performance recreation of Abramović’s work, the biggest exhibition of performance art in MoMA’s history. During the run of the exhibition, Abramović performed The Artist is Present, a 736-hour and 30-minute static, silent piece, in which she sat immobile in the museum’s atrium, while spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite her.

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to info@itsliquid.com or fill the form below

RELATED POSTS


GERHARD RICHTER: CAGE PAINTINGS

Art | January 21, 2021

Gerhard Richter’s Cage paintings (2006) will remain at Gagosian Beverly Hills until April 3. They were a cornerstone of the artist’s retrospective, Gerhard Richer: Painting After All, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last year. In conjunction with this key group of six paintings, a new group of drawings created by Richter on consecutive days during the summer of 2020 is being shown for the first time. Read more


LEE BUL: UTOPIA SAVED

Art | January 20, 2021

Lee Bul (b. 1964) is an artist based in Seoul, South Korea. Trained as a sculptor during the period of social and political upheavals of the 1980s, she started off her artistic career with performative pieces that incorporated wearable soft sculptures. In the 1990s she gained international recognition with a series of provocative works, including her scandalous installation of fresh fish left to decay and her Cyborg sculptures, hybrids of machine and organic forms. Read more


Ado Vabbe. Kumu Art Museum

Art | January 8, 2021

From 28 August, Kumu Art Museum will host Ado Vabbe: Wunderbar, the largest ever exhibition of the works of Ado Vabbe (1892-1961), who is one of the most intriguing names in Estonian art history and a forerunner of avant-garde art. Read more


Mondrian and De Stijl

Art | December 30, 2020

Holland at the beginning of the last century was the birthplace of a totally new form of art, an abstract art based on strict relations between rectangular forms, color planes, and straight lines. In October 1917, during the First World War, a group of young artists in neutral Holland joined forces to create a magazine. Called De Stijl, it presented and promoted this new, innovative art. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!