Monday, November 8, 2010

Marina Abramovic-The Mirror of The Public

Before I started the research of Marina Abramovic, I slightly browsed through some of her works. My first impression was that there must be something wrong with this crazy woman. Since has when pain and agony become a form of art? When I saw the video on the article on regarding her earliest work Rhythm 10, I started to understand her better. She said that the reason she was doing all those extreme form of performance is because that she wants to bring people's fear of dying, fear of pain, fear of suffering in front of the public. She symbolized herself as the mirror of the public, which means the audiences can see their own fear of suffering through watching Abramvoic.

Rhythm 10

Another work of her made me realize that this mirror also reflects our desire. In her work Rhythm 0, she was placing herself to the public to let people do whatever they want to do to her.

Rhythm 0

Her relationship with another artist Ulay is also interesting to look. They seem to both appreciate this agony as the form of art. Unfortunately, they parted after their epic walk on the Great Wall of China. In my opinion, the walk symbolizes the end of their chronicle cooperating journey.

The Great Wall Walk

Her most recent piece was in MoMA, NYC.  With Marina sitting in the middle of the room, any audience can choose to sit in front of her for as long as they can. Most of them ended up crying. Maybe through the mirror of this great artist, people got overwhelmed by their own agony. This made me realize that Marina's work truly let people to feel the existence of art itself and to literally relate the audiences to the piece of art.

The Artist Is Present


  1. Rhythm O also made a deep impression on me. This work seems to best illustrate how she uses her art to reflect society. By literally giving herself to the audience for them to do with her what they wished, this piece shows how human nature works. When people have such an opportunity, it's amazing to see what they'll do. It seems too, that although her work seems very personal, since she uses her body for all of her pieces, her work also serves as a sort of anthropological/sociological study.

  2. Cait, I completely agree with you. I felt like among all of the different works of art she has created, "Rhythm 0" is the one that stood out to me the most. Not saying that Marina's work is not interesting, but this piece leaves me lost for words. This piece makes me feel shocked, a little uncomfortable, but nevertheless, I enjoyed it. It was uncomfortable for me to see how she could put her body in that position, but more so, that the other people could do whatever they wanted to her. Some people are cruel and ignorant. As an artist, I wonder how she delt with those issues.

  3. I did some more research on the Rhythm 0 and found that one of the audience even hold a gun with a bullet inside at her to see if she will fringe. Fortunately, another audience pull the gun away. I cannot believe how far she goes for her art. it is painful for me to see that she was willing to get killed for her art.

  4. The retrospective at MoMA was quite incredible with all the re-enactments of these pieces but with trained people to perform Marina's role. The simplicity of her "artist is present" piece was fascinating in that it was the artist sitting hours, days and weeks and still people came to sit with her often waiting in line for many hours!