MARINA ABRAMOVIC : « WHITE SPACE », LISSON GALLERY

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Marina Abramović “White Space” / Lisson Gallery, London / jusqu’au 1er Novembre 2014.

Marina Abramović présente « White Space » à la Lisson Gallery jusqu’au 1er novembre prochain. Ces oeuvres historiques n’avaient jamais été montrées auparavant. Pièces sonores, vidéo-documentaires de performances, photographies et travaux sur papier, « White Space », dont le titre reprend une installation immersive de 1972, revient sur des pièces élaborées entre 1971 et 1981, qui ont contribué à la construction de l’oeuvre de la performeuse.

Taking its title from an early, immersive sound environment, “White Space” presents a range of historic works by Marina Abramović that have never been exhibited before. Featuring two important sound pieces, previously unseen video documentation of seminal performances and a number of photographs and works on paper, all dating from 1971-1981, the exhibition reveals the artist’s first forays into a performance- based practice dealing with time and the immaterial.

First realised in 1972 at The Student Cultural Centre in Belgrade, White Space was a room lined with white paper containing a tape recording of the artist repeating the phrase “I love you”. Visitors were instructed to “Enter the space. Listen.” Never since recreated, this work forms the centrepiece of this display of rare, formative Abramović works, which nevertheless relate thematically to her recent decision to strip down her practice to its essence and empty out the Serpentine Gallery for her long-durational performance there, entitled 512 Hours. A second audio work installed in its own environment, The Tree (1971) can be heard outside the gallery, in its central courtyard, where a number of speakers blare out an artificially amplified repetition of birds chirping, the insistent recording perhaps referring to the recorded pronouncements of Josip Broz ‘Tito’, Yugoslavia’s revolutionary socialist leader of the time, whom Abramović’s parents fought with and eventually served under, as military officers in the Communist government.

Consisting of a series of 28 photographic works partially obscured by white correction fluid, also played on an accompanying slide projection, Freeing the Horizon (1973) represents Abramović’s enigmatic and systematic erasure of a number of important buildings from the Belgrade skyline, many of which, coincidentally, the artist later discovered were physically obliterated by the NATO bombings of 1999 as part of the Kosovo War.

Also never shown before is a newly remastered film version of Rhythm 5 (1974), which was captured by the artist’s brother, Velmir Abramović. This important early series of performances placed Abramović in a variety of potentially life-threatening situations in which she offered herself as an object of experimentation for the audience, ingested drugs that induced either catatonic or aggressive states, as well as repeatedly stabbed a knife into the spaces between her fingers. For Rhythm 5 she lay on the floor, in the middle of a burning five-point star, until she lost consciousness due to an unforeseen lack of oxygen resulting from the fire and had to be rescued by concerned onlookers.

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Visuels copyright Marina Abramovic / Lisson Gallery

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