A pioneer of performance art, Marina Abramović (born Yugoslavia, 1946) began using her own body as the subject, object, and medium of her work in the early 1970s. The self-described “Grandmother of Performance Art,” Abramović is known to push her body to physical extremes in pursuit of her artistic goals.
For the exhibition Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present, The Museum of Modern Art’s first performance retrospective, Abramović sat for seven hours, six days a week, for three months staring silently into the eyes of whomever took possession of the chair opposite her. Over the course of the exhibit Abramović sat motionless for over 700 hours, and an estimated 750,000 museum-goers sat across from here gazing back into her eyes and becoming participants in the artwork themselves.
HBO recently released a documentary, directed by Matthew Akers, that documents this powerful exhibit and the work that led up to its debut. With interviews from friends, collaborators, and the artist herself, this film provides an in-depth view into one of the most inspired minds of our generation. Trust me when I tell you this is essential viewing.
A few of Marina’s words that inspired me from the documentary:
The proposition is to empty yourself and be in present time! put your mind here and now. Something opens…
With performance you have to have an emotional approach. Direct energy with audience and performer.
Artist is warrior! …Stamina to conquer not only new territory but himself and his weaknesses.
Not important what you are doing but which state of mind you are doing what you are doing.”