Pushing boundary + serenity + Marina Abramović

if you haven’t heard of the performance artist Marina Abramović…

“A great artist has to be ready to fail”- Marina Abramovic (performance artist)


“Follow your intuition. Have courage. Do what you imagine. And always be completely present in the moment”- Marina Abramović on what it really means to be an artist.

The Belgrade, Serbia-born artist explains that she always does the work she is most afraid of, which is most different to what she has done before. Finally Abramović adds that the performing artist has to be completely present in the moment, and cannot be thinking of the next step. You have to follow intuition, have courage and do what you imagine.

Her work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind. To Ambramović the purpose of art is the transformation of the artist and of the viewer.

“Rhythm 0”- Marina often uses her body as a medium to test physical, mental, and emotional limits—in a quest for heightened consciousness, transcendence, and self-transformation

In the picture above Marina is at a gallery in her native Belgrade, Serbia in 1974, she laid out 72 items (including matches, lipstick, saws, nails and even a gun with a single bullet) on a table and invited the public to use them on her in any way they saw fit. Visitors were invited to do what they “desired” to her body and many responded with vicious intent, marking, probing and scratching her. At one point she said, “I realised then that the public can kill you. If you give them total freedom.”

“Imponderabilia”, Marina Abramović and Ulay, 1977
Marina and Ulay performing
© 2010 Scott Rudd www.scottruddphotography.com scott.rudd@gmail.com
“The Artist is Present”, Marina and Ulay

To appreciate Marina is to abandon all that you “think” you know. If you are judging, you already do not get the message.  Art has no templates or conformity.

Marina mentions that meditation is very important process to connect with one’s spiritual self; empty oneself of ego, attachment to materials and feelings.

Portrait with Potatoes, 2008
retreat meditation
Marina had her performers go into a 3-day retreat as a preparation before the show

“I went to an Ayurveda yoga retreat in south India for over a month this past winter. There are some strong restrictions there; you practically live on rice water. You totally detox. You really need time there. There’s no computer, no phone, no fax. After a while, you arrive at a very peaceful state of mind. Sometimes, you need a period of time to disconnect in order to reconnect with the world.”

“The Artist is Present” (2012) – the film documents various of Abramović’s works presenting her ideas, her thoughts, her creativity, and the questions of “why is this art?”. I was appalled at first about the idea of a controversial artist sacrificing like cutting herself, but then I understood her motivation in doing her own art and it helped me expand my definition of art. Watch it… it could open your mind.


(thanks to information from various sources online)


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