Several but short hours with Marina Abramovic

I’m a big lover of visiting art galleries for exhibitions such as The Saatchi and The V&A. Each of these trips to my favourite galleries in London always provide refreshing and innovative experiences of various art forms produced by talented artists.

I’ve always heard of The Serpentine Gallery and the brilliantly displayed exhibitions there, my friend who is a Fine Art student and I had learnt of the talented Marina Abramovic. Based in New York City and originally from Serbia, I first learnt of this encapsulating woman earlier this year, after noticing her in Jay Z’s New York gallery-filmed music video of his hit song ‘Picasso baby’ from his recently released Magna Carta Holy Grail album. His video was based on performance art – he was the art, and the people that came to see him viewed the art, and also interacted with him.

Marina was amongst the crowd and interacted with the art (being Jay Z) in what I found as very strange, and eye catching. From that clip I had watched, I had to find out who this woman was! Abramovic, born in 1946, believes and said in an interview with James Franco, that “studios is the worst place an artist should be in. I hate the studio. The art comes from life”. I definitely believed her through the various performance clips I had seen via YouTube. I’ve never experienced art on such a personal level – little did I know that I would experience performance art for the first time. The exhibition taking place for 512 hours attracted over 100, 000 viewers and I became one of them on Thursday 21st August, with just under 500 hours left.

“Artists have to be responsible generally. We can’t produce the work who will damage.” – Abramovic

Marina interacted with everyone during the performance. She organised each person into a space, shortly after we all had the chance to explore and be in our own minds; all in complete silence. Marina was so sweet and warm to interact with. I didn’t expect her to hold my hand and rub it against her warm cheek! My hands were freezing. She reminded me twice of that. Her presence was so warming and it was so nice becoming a part of a performance in such a way.

In an interview with The Guardian, Abramovic raised a point which blended so well with my thoughts of the day; “It’s emotional because [in our daily lives] we never have time to stop; we are consumption junkies. I have a writer who comes here every six days, and he walks for three hours in slow motion, and then he goes home and works. It’s a brain spa for him.”

It was a bit strange and ghastly for me at first to be stripped of noise and being so deep in concentration, and it then became incredibly therapeutic and calm. We as humans must appreciate the joys of stripping away distractions and purely relaxing. I hope I get to meet beautiful Marina again soon, I can’t believe she’s 70 years old in a few years! Long live performance art.

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