Marina Abramovic, dubbed the "grandmother of performance art," is a Serbian artist who has been participating in physically and emotionally demanding performance pieces since the 1970s. In a new performance piece at the Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea in Milan, the Belgrade-born artist presents "The Abramovic Method." Actors might be familiar with the Stanislavski Method, which employs a system of techniques for a performer to convey emotion in a performance; the "Abramovic Method" will not simulate but create an emotional and spiritual center.
Abramovic uses the body of both the performer and the participants as her subject matter and her materials. She recently gained widespread notoriety for her performance "The Artist Is Present" at the MoMA, in which she sat for 700 hours straight gazing into the eyes of her visitors. The experience was a tearjerker for quite a few participants, and the lines stretched down the hall -- showing that the public can be very much engaged with contemporary art.
Her upcoming performance is based on reflections upon "The Artist Is Present" (2010), along with "The House With the Ocean View" (2002) and "Seven Easy Pieces" (2005). This time the public's body, not the artist's, will take center stage. Abramovic will guide an "interactive installation" in which the public interacts with different minerals (quartz, amethyst and turmaline). They will stand, sit, and lie amongst the gems, creating an altered space in which darkness, light, space and time shift with the sparkling of the minerals.
Abramovic is creating an institute to explain and expand her model of performance art along with help from architect Rem Koolhaas. She explained her mission in creating the school to HuffPost: "The first thing is to teach the public how to see performance art, to teach the public, what you can see and how you can behave in your own self. Where is your breathing, what is your feeling of presence or absence in your mind, and to really learn the basics of performance language."
She added: "Performance art is not theater, its not entertainment. Performance is serious business. In theater, blood is ketchup; in performance, everything's real." Abramovic should know, she has stabbed her own hand, covered her face in ice and starved herself for 12 days -- all in the name of art.
This isn't the first time Abramovic has used minerals in her work, however. In her 1997 performance "Dozing Consciousness," she placed quartz crystals on her face and filmed them moving in pace with her breathing. Footage from "Dozing Consciousness" as well as from other installations will be available for viewers to get a deeper sense of how Abramovic sublimates the self into a work of art.
"The Abramovic Method" will show from March 21 to June 10 at the PAC Padiglione d'Arte Contemporanea. Also "The Abramovic Method" will be the object of a film-documentary directed by Giada Colagrande and produced with the support of Fondazione Furla.
Learn more from Abramovic's recent interview with the Huffington Post.
See Abramovic's performance "Homage to Saint Therese" to gain some additional background to Abramovic's unique craft, and let us know what you think of her performance art in the comments section below.
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