Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present


From 8 October 2011 to 4 December 2011


Garage Center for Contemporary Art
Marina Abramović: The Artist is PresentMarina Abramović: The Artist is Present


A major retrospective tracing the prolific career of performance artist Marina Abramović will go on show at Moscow’s Garage Center for Contemporary Culture from 8 October to 4 December 2011.

Curated by Klaus Biesenbach, the exhibition features approximately 50 works spanning more than four decades of her early interventions, sound pieces, video works, installations, photographs, solo performances and collaborative performances.

Internationally recognized as a pioneer of performance art, Abramović has been testing the boundaries of performance for over 30 years, presenting work that physically and mentally challenges the performer and the viewer. Since the beginning of Abramović’s career in Belgrade during the early 1970s, the body has been both her subject and medium. Exploring the limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in the quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. This retrospective will introduce Abramović, widely acclaimed for the importance of her contribution to the history of performance art, to a Russian audience. In so doing, it follows in the footsteps of worldwide exhibitions of Abramović’s oeuvre such as Balkan Baroque, presented at the 1997 Venice Biennale, Seven Easy Pieces at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2005), and in Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010).

Intending to transmit the presence of the artist and make her historical performances accessible to a larger audience, the exhibition will present five landmark Abramović pieces performed by live ‘reperformers’, alongside video and photographic documentation, sound recordings and objects used in the original performances, incorporated within a chronological presentation of the artist’s career.

In addition, Abramović will present a new performance installation entitled Measuring the Magic of Mutual Gaze, which has been created as the result of a close collaboration between the artist and a team of American and Russian scientists. Garage visitors are invited to participate in an experiment that measures brain activity when seated opposite one another – an exercise that privileges emotional, over physical, interaction. The viewing public can observe this activity, to see which areas of the brain are physically stimulated when participants are engaged with each other in thought. The work is reminiscent of Abramović's The Artist is Present, performed at MoMA New York, as different visitors sat opposite the artist over a number of months.

The exhibition was originally conceived by The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

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Marina Abramović (born Yugoslavia, 1946) began experimenting with interventions in sounds and space and composing instructions for imagined performances in the late 1960s. In the 1970s, she introduced her own body as object, subject and medium of her work, starting with a series of durational performances antithetical to the political climate of socialist Yugoslavia. When she was twenty-nine, Abramović left Belgrade unannounced for Amsterdam, where she met Ulay, with whom she collaborated for the next twelve years. In 1988, they ended their collaboration in a final performance, walking from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China to meet in the middle and separate. In the 1990s, coinciding with conflicts in the Balkan region, Abramović produced a chapter of solo work examining her personal cultural and national heritage. Since moving to New York in 2001, she has been investigating reperformance as a means of exhibiting and preserving performance art and has reperformed her own works and those of others. These ideas are explored in The Artist is Present.