Marina Abramović has an unwavering dedication to her art form. In four decades as a performance artist she has allowed strangers to point guns and knives at her, hurled herself into a petroleum fuelled furnace and sat in silence for 700 hours.
However, it's not shock tactics alone that has built her a legion of fans and the reputation as the most important performance artist of our generation. There is an emotional resonance to Abramović's work that's affects people on a deeply personal and even spiritual level.
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The Artist is Present (2010) at New York's Museum of Modern Art brought many spectators to tears, spawning the blog Marina Abramović made me cry to document the poignant moments between Abramović and her silent guests. You may recall this touching video of Abramović sitting opposite her ex-partner Ulay, which made worldwide headlines when he arrived unannounced at the opening night. 512 Hours (2014) at Serpetine Gallery in London had all walks of life queuing for four hours to experience the famed 'Abramović Method'.
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In a coup for the Australian visual arts scene, the enigmatic Serbian artist is bringing her unique method and spellbinding performances to Sydney and Hobart. The project was made possible through a partnership between John Kaldor of Kaldor Public Art Projects and MONA's David Walsh.
Marina Abramovic: In Residence will be presented free of charge at Sydney's Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay from June 24 to July 5 and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania will exhibit Marina Abramović: Private Archaeology from June 13 to October 5.
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Commenting on the project, Abramović said, "I had made a career as a performance artist for forty years now and my relationship with the public is changing. It used to be very simple: the public was sitting in the audience and I was performing in front of them."
"In Sydney, for Marina Ambramovic: In Residence, I will be like a conductor in the exhibition space, but it will be the public who will take the physical and emotional journey. We constantly like to be entertained, to get things from the outside. We never take time to get in touch with ourselves, our inner self. So I'm completely changing the paradigm, I'm shifting the rules."
Marina Abramovic: In Residence, Pier 2/3 Walsh Bay, Sydney, presented by Kaldor Public Art Projects from June 24-July 5, kaldorartprojects.org.au
Marina Abramović: Private Archaeology, Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), Hobart, June 13-October 5, mona.net.au