Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Marina Abramović - The Artist Is Present

Marina Abramović, better known to me and my friends as "that creepy, crazy bitch from the Museum of Modern Art".

Marina Abramović is a performance artist from Yugoslavia that uses her body as means to test physical and emotional boundaries.

This is my ignorant opinion on her work.

Some of her past performances include:

- Rhythm 0, where she placed 72 objects on a table and let the audience use them on her as they chose. Some items were meant for pleasure, others for pain. Items included a knife, scissors, condoms, a gun and a single bullet. For 6 hours she let people manipulate her body and actions. At first, people were cautious but then became more aggressive. Fortunately for her, no one shot her crazy ass. Although, several people tried but were stopped by other museum go-ers. Yikes.

- House with an Ocean View,
where she lived in the Sean Kelly Gallery in Chelsea for 12 days straight without speaking, confined to three small rooms elevated above the floor, allowing visitors to watch her bathe, nap and use the bathroom. If you recall the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie and the Russian go see a performance artist that is "starving herself", that was a re-enactment of this performance. Haiyo.

- Role Exchange,
she switched places with an Amsterdam prostitute for four hours.

- Freeing The Voice,
she laid down with her head tilted back and screamed non-stop until she lost her voice [3 hours]

- Freeing The Body,
wrapped her head with a black scarf and danced to drum beats (naked) until she collapsed [8 hours]

These along with many of her other performances were on display at the Museum of Modern Art either by live re-performances by other artists, videos, photos or installations.

For her most recent performance, she stayed at the MoMA from open until closing time for 3 months straight and allowed people to silently sit across from her. A modern day staring contest.

It was the strangest, creepiest thing I've ever seen (in "real" life). It didn't help that she was wearing a long, white robe and resembled the mom from the movie The Ring.

The exhibition made a disturbing impression on me and I haven't been able to get it off my mind since. I literally felt drained and "heavy", like she sucked the energy out of me.

If you ever have the chance to check her out, I suggest you do so. Memorable to say the least.