Moderna Museet will host a major retrospective “The Cleaner” between February 18 and May 21, more at modernamuseet.se. Tempo will screen the film “Marina Abramović in Brazil – The Space In Between” in collaboration with the Moderna Museet. On March 7, the film is shown at Moderna Museet. Marina Abramović is participating. Her newly-written memoirs already exist in English, but “Go through walls” (Bromberg) will be published in Swedish in March. Read more on page 37.
The premier performance artist of the world today, born in 1946 in Belgrade and currently based in New York. Her performance “The artist is present” in 2010 at the MOMA in New York – which lasted 716 hours – received 750,000 visitors. She has founded her own institute for young artists and the development of performance, MAI (mai.art).
Marina Abramović is the queen of performance art. Where the human exchange becomes art. Where art finds a common denominator, like bees in a hive. Performance art not unlike many human rituals. Is it because Marina is so interested in them? One of her uncompromising journeys into the realms of ritual has now been documented. “Marina Abramović in Brazil – The Space In Between” will be screened at Tempo with Abramović present and her major retrospective will open at the Moderna Museet.
Further and further into the Brazilian jungle, via crystal therapies, shamans, an excess of drugs, religious invocations, rituals and other therapies that you didn’t have a clue existed are all used by Marina to further her journey. The documentary of Abramovic’s journey will explore meeting new friends, remarkable experiences, food, and the power of nature, contemplation and reflection. As a spectator you are struck by how much our universe contains. An outer journey becomes an internal one. Everything fits.
You’ve always been a nomad, traveling to India, Tibet, and Brazil in search of human rituals. Do you meet all these new people and ideas with a holistic approach?
-No, I do not, Marina answers when I reach her the day after a month long stay at the retreat in India. – I never take any other approach than that of a child. For a child is curious, takes everything seriously and is fully and completely open to what the world has to offer.
The film is very much about seeking a kind of inner truth. And maybe an outer… is there such a thing?
-There is a universal truth. Then, you can interpret it in different ways. But the overall transparency will help … In that way we can seek access to truths, religions, culture, science …
When you give all of your energy the forces can reach into all the locks we carry on. And I’m always looking for the unknown rather than the comfortable.
You are certainly not comfortable in ”Marina Abramović in Brazil – The Space In Between”. When you create your performances you say you enter another “you”, not the private Marina. So what are you in front of the camera in the film? You know that the camera is there … and it is so close, close … you are always in the center … doesn’t it affect your actions?
– I am not aware of the camera at all. Because we decided that, I have a microphone on me 24 hours a day, the photographer has the key to my apartment and to my bedroom. There is no such thing as privacy.
We have over 700 hours of material. All of this was very important, so that I do not disguise myself. We were able to open up the process completely, giving out the same energy as if the camera was not there. The same simplicity.
Marina’s questions are about our existences on this earth, about the individual’s place, about power and relationships, about the need for culture, understanding and ultimately perhaps also … beauty. For there are no limits. No time. Most of it will have to take some time. Slowness is increasingly important. Marina has always been completely uncompromising, even against herself, such as her 70’s performance “Rhythm 0” where she stood silent and still for an entire day with 72 small items in front of her. In the beginning, the audience gave her the rose that was in front of her, and the longer the day went on the audience began to test her more and more.
They took the scissors and cut apart her clothes, pulled them off, cut her with a knife and even sucked the blood out of her.
-It was uncomfortable, but that is what art can be.
Even as a young artist you must have decided that it is everything. But it must never be speculative. It must be honest. Even in the film screened at Tempo she challenges boundaries. For instance when she takes hallucinogenic drugs. Such things gives her attention, but she clarifies:
– Fame is nothing. The challenges have been with me from my childhood.
Marina Abramović’s audience does not care about age. She has, moreover, an unusually young audience for a 70-year-old artist with nearly six decades of work behind her. While the journey is always more important than the goal, Marina Abramović still makes reflective statements. The film is here, the memoirs “Walk Through Walls” is here, and the large retrospective at the Moderna Museet “The Cleaner” is here. One of her first recaps.
-It will be one of the biggest shows I do. There is so much material, so I have to put a lot of effort to sort all these 55 years I worked more than ten years of collaboration with Ulay and everything after that. And I’m very grateful to get to do it, to be at the Moderna Museet.
Your biography, your entire life from childhood in Yugoslavia today, has quickly become one of the best-selling art books around the world.
– I would have been disappointed if it is not sold, after all the places I worked and created on. So far it has been translated into 16 languages and is almost as universal as I am. Fame is completely uninteresting to me, in the book I get a chance to tell you about all the 50 years I have not been part of it.
And the film, what is the reason that it is coming out right now?
– I have never seriously documented what I do, so it is really time to do that now. It’s been so inspiring to show the underlying processes to others. And show Brazil that has become so important to me. Also in my work. Here I can find new expressions for me, but also for all of our common.
Writer: Henric Tiselius