Abramovic retrospective opening 'new horizons'

Abramovic retrospective opening 'new horizons'

Hatice Utkan Özden - ISTANBUL
Abramovic retrospective opening new horizons

Listening to Marina Abramovic at the press conference of her new exhibition in Istanbul, everyone wonders what it takes to be a performance artist. She has been bruised, attacked, has performed with her loved one and done many different acts and performances in her lifetime and is still trying to give her best to the performance art. “You have to be present and ready for a durational performance,” she said.

Marina Abramovic’s retrospective at Sakıp Sabancı Museum is an evidence of her risk-taking and enduring nature. Speaking at the press conference, the artist said that hosting such an exhibition and presenting durational performances in museums is a risk, but Sabancı Museum has succeeded in doing so.

She added that this time the museum stands as a laboratory and there will be durational performances of 15 performance artists.

The exhibition, titled “Flux,” somehow teaches the viewer the methods of Abramovic and introduces performance art.

The exhibition consists of three sections, featuring video and photographic documentation of Abramovic’s iconic performances, performance projects of different artists, Arda Cabaoğlu, Bahar Temiz, Dilek Champs, Evren Kutlay, Halil Atasever, İlyas Odman, Merve Vural, Metehan Kayan-Umut Sevgül, Murat Adash, Murat Ali Cengiz, Şebnem Dönmez, Maria Stemenkovic Herranz, Nancy Stamatopoulou, Nezaket Ekici and Virginia Mastrogiannaki. The artists chosen by the MAI, Marina Abramovic Institute.

These performances are durational and will be presented in the museums between 12 pm to 8 pm every day. The artists will be doing performances for eight hours a day. One has to be prepared, both mentally and physically to do a durational performance,
according to Abramovic, and that’s why the exhibition is also a stance for her work and for her method.

“Not only a strong physical and mental stage but also will power is important,” she added.

“Performance art is a method that the public can become a part of and one which the public really wants to be a part of it. They need to be a part of some kind of experience.”

That’s why this exhibition matters a lot. Cause in the third part the viewer will have the chance to experience methods of Abramovic. It is possible to lie down, to sit face to face with another viewer (just like Abramovic did in MoMA, in her The Artist is Present performance in 2010) and many different methods like this.

Abramovic retrospective opening new horizonsThis room is almost like a meditation room, that one has to be in present moment and perform just like Abramovic.

“The experience is important, cause when you are doing a performance your mind should be in the present. You cannot be somewhere else.” That’s why Abramovic gives a serious thought on how to engage the audience to the performance and how to express herself in the public.

Speaking about her legendary performance “Rhythm Zero,” which lasted six hours and where she let the public to do anything they wanted on her, the artist said: “In Rhythm Zero I let the public do what they wanted to do. But in 2010 in The Artist is Present, I put a limit to the audience engagement and I only made eye contact, but doing so I lift the spirit up. You learn from experience and one performance leads to another.”

As part of the exhibition, Akbank Sanat hosts a documentary series presenting the history of works by Abramovic, as well a video gallery featuring numerous works in performance,  aiming to explore the legacy of performance art still informing its present.

The exhibition will continue until April 26.