Wk5 – Artist – Ana Abramovic

by eunjoos

This week’s Artist of the Week is my favorite artist by far. Ana Abramovic is another performance artist, but not just any performance artist. She is the “grandmother of performance art.” I find this statement very true. She puts herself in such great risk and danger for the sake of her art. She is very brave and an artist that will die for her art. The three pieces I will be going over is Rhythm 0, Rest Energy, and The Artist is Present.

Her performance piece Rhythm 0, 1974 she wanted to test the relationship between performer and audience. She laid 72 items that people were allowed to use onto a table. This items included roses, feathers, a whip, knife, and a loaded pistol. You can already see what she is trying to experiment. For six hours, she stood there motionless and allowed the audience to manipulate her body movements and use any of those objects on her. She was complete and utterly vulnerable, and because of that the audience did whatever they liked. They ripped off her clothes, stuck rose thorns into her body, and even pointed a gun to her head. She went into the experiment ready to die. She described it as: “What I learned was that … if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you. … I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away. It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.” After reading and viewing this performance I was sad. It is sad knowing how easily people will try to take advantage of vulnerability, and how quick people are to aggression.

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Rest Energy with Ulay is a performance piece that lasted for about four minutes. For four minutes they stood like this. This was all about trust. Marina had to trust Ulay with that bow and arrow, trust that he would not let go of the arrow and string. They both had microphones to their chest to hear their heartbeats. As the four minutes progressed, their heartbeats grew faster and faster. According to Abramovic, this was the longest four minutes of her life.

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In Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present in 2010 she would sit in silence and immobile just staring at the person sitting across from her. She did this for a total of 736 hours. It is interesting to think about all the different faces, emotions, and people that she came into contact with, and how her performance has impacted them. In the last picture she is reunited with her former lover, Ulay, after twenty-two years of them not seeing each other. Here she moved and made physical contact with his rather than just making eye contact. Her reunion with Ulay was very emotional and it impacted her greatly.

Marina Abramovic is an artist that is willing to go beyond comfort and safety and would put herself in near death situations for her art. She is very brave and a true inspiration.

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