• gerard van weyenbergh

Art expert about Marina Abramovic

The body, both subject and instrument of his work takes a special place in the work of Marina Abramovic. This film revisits the most memorable performances of this Serbian artist, sometimes dangerous, sometimes moving, as she prepares a large retrospective of her work at MoMA, with a central question that has been asked repeatedly since the beginning of career: how is it art?

For Abramović, the primary purpose of art must be to enlighten and uplift the spirit. Still, she felt the need to use VR ( virtual reality) to convey a message about the increasing pressure that humans are exerting on the environment. Scientists are warning us that in about 70 years our climate could cause us huge problems, she said, referring to the rate of sea-level rise, which has doubled in the past 20 years. But you never take [their warnings] seriously, she said. I thought it would be interesting to create something that you can experience, something that would change your consciousness, and [make you] act.

Abramović is pushing the limits of her body and mind in the name of art. For her performance The Artist is Present (2010) at MoMa, she sat for eight hours a day for almost three months, facing an empty chair on which visitors took turns to plant their gaze in her eyes. More shocking, her work Rhythm 0 (1974), presented in a Neapolitan gallery, for which she remained passive for six hours while the spectators were free to do what she wished, using 72 objects provided on place, among which a feather, a comb, and even a loaded weapon. The purpose of the work, she explained at the time, was to see how far the audience would go. Rising performance, although it is not as violent, it is nonetheless extreme. Abramović spent hours partly submerged in water, attached to a motion capture stand to create a virtual portrait of herself.

So, can we say that the formula <endurance + public reaction = art> is the essence of Marina Abramović? No, she replies. Nothing is as mathematical. About her latest choice of medium - virtual reality - she recognizes the advantages and disadvantages, and nuances everything. VR has the power to heal (see the newest research on pain-relieving virtual reality) but threatens to make humans obsolete. Still, in the end, she says, it is an “interesting tool” and something that will be “part and parcel” of the legacy she will leave behind. Vogue Paris

Video : https://youtu.be/YcmcEZxdlv4