The Abramović Method
Curated by Diego Sileo and Eugenio Viola
21 march - 10 june 2012
PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea
The PAC in Milan is the venue chosen by Marina Abramović to host her eagerly awaited new work – the first after the major retrospective of 2010 at the MoMA, New York – from 21 March to 10 June 2012.
Promoted by the Milan Department of Culture, Fashion and Design and jointly produced by the PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea and 24 ORE Cultura–Gruppo 24 ORE, the event is curated by Diego Sileo and Eugenio Viola.
An icon of every form of expression connected with the body, Marina Abramović is one of the most fascinating and magnetic figures of our time and one whose artistic-existential trajectory is indivisibly linked to the very history of performance. A pioneer of this art since the 1970s and winner of the Golden Lion at the 1997 Venice Biennial, she has often gone beyond her physical and psychological limits, endangered her personal safety, shattered frameworks and conventions, and probed deeply into her own fears and those of her spectators, bringing art into contact with physical and emotional experience, and connecting it with life itself.
The Abramović Method is born out of reflections developed by Marina Abramović on the basis of her last three performances, The House With the Ocean View (2002), Seven Easy Pieces (2005) and The Artist is Present (2010), experiences that have left a deep imprint on her perception of her work in relation to the public.
“In my experience, as developed in a career of over 40 years, I have arrived at the conclusion that the public plays a very important and indeed crucial role in performance,” she explains. “The performance has no meaning without the public because, as Duchamp said, it is the public that completes the work of art. In the case of performance, I would say that public and performer are not only complementary but almost inseparable.”
It will thus be the public, guided and prompted by the artist, that experiences her “interactive installations” in The Abramović Method. These works are are built with different minerals embedded within their structures– quartz, amethyst turmaline – with which the public will have the opportunity to interact, standing, sitting or lying down. Thes objects present a physical and mental pathway that transforms the spaces of the PAC into an experience made up of darkness and light, absence and presence, and altered perceptions of space and time. Through this pathway, people are offered the chance to expand their senses, to observe, and to learn to listen, both to others and to themselves.
In order to emphasize the ambivalent role of observer and observed, actor and spectator, Marina Abramović has chosen to put the public to the test also in the apparently simple action of observation at a distance, providing a series of telescopes, for visitors to look at the macro and micro point of views of those who decide to tackle the interactive installations.
This is the “Abramović Method” with which the artist has experimented on herself in years of iron self-control and dedication, a process that reached its peak in the exhausting performance The Artist is Present at the MoMA (2010), in which she performed daily during public hours. For this longest solo piece to date, she was sitted in silence at a table, inviting visitors to take the seat across from her for as long as they choose within the timeframe of the museum's hours of operation. She did not respond to the participants, but their involvement completed the work, allowing them to have a personal experience with the artist and the performance piece itself.
A monumental installation, making its Italian debut, will rebuild this memorable action , welcoming the visitors and introducing the scenario of the Abramović Method.
This method is born out of awareness that the act of performance is capable of bringing about a radical transformation both in the performer and in the public. In an age when time is truly precious but also truly rare, Marina Abramović calls upon the actor and spectators to stop and experience the “here and now” of what regards them first and foremost: themselves and their way of relating to their surrounding world.
Visitors will be helped to attain a deeper understanding of the Abramović method by a selection of previous works. From Dozing Consciousness (1997) to Homage to Saint Therese (2009), her wors are based on the same principles and the same untiring pursuit of an “energetic” expansion of perception capable of combining age-old wisdom and traditions with contemporary reality.
The catalogue, edited by Diego Sileo and Eugenio Viola, is published by 24 ORE Cultura–Gruppo 24 ORE with texts of the two curators, Renato Barilli, Achille Bonito Oliva, Germano Celant, Gillo Dorfles, Antonello Tolve, Angela Vettese .
It is published in two volumes. The first, Italian Works, features all the performances staged in Italy by Marina Abramović. The second volume is focussed exclusively on the entire process leading up to the forging of the “Abramović Method”.