In contemporary Russian culture the term “performance” is used in a variety of ways and contexts, sometimes controversial. Questions about the nature of performance art and the specifics of its perception are equally relevant to the general public and the professional community.
Having changed the audience’s role and the general public’s understanding of non-objective art’s boundaries and languages, the medium of performance makes the spectator an accomplice and continues to raise the issues of physicality, time, space, taboo, boredom, nakedness, identity, empathy, and fear.
Marina Abramović has played an important role in the establishment and popularization of classic performance. For almost fifty years, she has used the human body and mind to create artworks, defining performance using two key criteria—“energy dialogue” and “charismatic space”—and endowing contemporary works with new functions. “I so tire of seeing people walk quickly through a gallery, run by a few works of art, and walk out the door in five seconds with their cell phone in their hand... I believe we need to reclaim time. Long-duration art has the power to change your mind.”
In presenting the book The Reception of Performance: Marina Abramović is Present, the cultural scholar Maria Antonyan will trace the main principles and historiography of classic performance, talk about the figure of the performance artist, explain the difference between performance and actionism, and describe how a random visit to an exhibition can change a person’s life.