Marina Abramović: A Body of Art

A revolutionary artist is one who makes such a lasting change that the world isn’t seen the same. This describes the work of Marina Abramović, who makes her way to Palazzo Strozzi in Florence this Fall. Winning the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale, Marina Abramović returns to Italy with an exhibit to both explore her roots and give audiences a new experience of her art.

The Serbian born performance artist uses her body to explore the relationship between audience and artist, often discovering the darkness and the light of human interactions. When discussing her early period, she reflects “When I really pushed my body to the limits, I didn’t want to die, I’m not interested in dying, I’m interested in how far you can push the energy.”  Her work transforms audience into participant, often startling even horrifying, allowing a collaboration between artist and audience that isn’t undertaken in other art forms. 

Her raw performances along with her collaborations with other artists have inspired generations of artists. Her explorations into virtual reality continue her evolvement, making her insights to our current lives as pertinent as ever. “We look at our phones because we are too scared of being alone. We do not want to see inside ourselves, so that’s another problem. That is why a number of my works deal with communities. Twenty years ago, people were doing these rituals on their own by themselves, whereas now you have to teach them how to be comfortable with themselves again.”   Her institute, MAI, functions as a traveling institute to continue her work and exploration, encouraging collaborations between the arts, science, and the humanities.

While IMPONDERABILIA in 1977 at the Galleria Communale d’Arte Moderna in Bologna was shut down by police, this collaboration with Palazzo Strozzi in Florence is a journey of reflection and admiration. The exhibit, Marina Abramović The Cleaner, will provide an introspection and documentation of her work but also a re-creation of performances by selected artists for this exhibit.  Opening September 21 and running through January 20, 2019, this exhibit is not to be missed for those looking for a transformational experience.

Jennie Olson Six
Cultural Italy Staff Writer

1  “Marina Abramovic: Early Years” Video
2  “How to live, according to Marina Abramović”