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  • Writer's pictureDulani Don Tennakoon

4. Marina Abramovic

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

A Serbian conceptual and performance artist. Her work explores body art, endurance art, feminist art, the relationship between the performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind.

Rhythm 0, 1974

The list of props in the work is as follows:

gun bullet blue paint comb bell whip lipstick pocket knife fork perfume spoon cotton flowers matches rose candle mirror drinking glass polaroid camera feather chains nails needle safety pin hairpin brush bandage red paint white paint scissors pen book sheet of white paper kitchen knife hammer saw piece of wood ax stick bone of lamb newspaper bread wine honey salt sugar soap cake metal spear box of razor blades dish flute Band Aid alcohol medal coat shoes chair leather strings yarn wire sulphur grapes olive oil water hat metal pipe rosemary branch scarf handkerchief scalpel apple

In this performance, Abramovic quite literally waited while doing nothing.

The whole idea of this performance art was that Abramovic herself was seen as the object, and that anyone from the audience could do whatever they wanted to her, with any of the objects laid out on the table for the duration of the performance, which was from 8pm–2am, 6 hours. It stated that anything that happened during this time period Abramovic would take full responsibility.

Rhythm 0 shows just how easily people will choose to do bad things knowing there wont be any repercussions, and how quickly they run away from taking responsibility for their actions. It is uncomfortable and hard to watch but it was definitely impactful and unforgettable.

The Artist is Present, 2010

This performance, "The Artist Is Present", at the MoMA, New York, had a total duration of 700 hours, during which Abramovic sat in a chair at MoMa, six days a week over three months, while the visitors were invited to remain silent and face to face with the performer for the time they wished.

The picture above is the iconic moment when Ulay, her former lover, unexpectedly took a seat, she began to cry and reached across to hold his hands.

Another piece by Abramovic that revolved around, waiting and doing nothing. Although nothing was being said or done, you can see so much happening between each person that sits in front of her, engaged in their own silent conversation in front of a live audience.

Idea for presentation

To sit and face the audience. - would feel very uncomfortable and fill me with anxiety

Too similar to "The Artist Is Present"?

Or maybe have my back to them.

In silence ? Audio ?

Are you waiting for something? - sound at the end, to represent the thing you were waiting for?

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