Marina Abramović Wants to Teach You the Secrets of Serenity With an Educational Card Set

The legendary performance artist will have you transitioning “between one reality and another” before you know it.

Marina Abramović. Courtesy of Luciana Brito Galeria.

Ever sat and stared into another person’s eyes for an hour? Ever stumbled around a space blindfolded wearing earplugs? Ever stared at a wall?

Well, now you can, and not just for fun: you’ll be learning the Marina Abramović Method, devised by the world-famous performance artist known for her self-punishing and extreme artistic measures.

You and your friends will be practicing the method with a handy set of 30 illustrated instructional cards that go on sale for just $19.99 on February 15, 2022 from the English publisher Laurence King.

Co-authored by the Serbian artist (who is, once and for all, not the ringleader of a global Satantist conspiracy) and writer/publisher Katya Tylevich, the accompanying booklet expands on the bare-bones instructions on the cards, and it makes a pretty ambitious promise: “The function of the artist is the function of the servant,” reads the introduction, “and now I wish to transmit my knowledge to you. Over years of travel, learning, teaching, and the creation of my art, I have found different ways of achieving the fragile passage between one reality and another.”

In order to reach that passage, the exercises will help you develop skills like endurance, concentration, perception, self-control, and willpower. Helping to inspire her fans are lush images of the artist demonstrating the techniques.

Cards illustrating exercises like staring at a wall, drinking a glass of water slowly, and complaining to a tree. Courtesy Laurence King.

If the means to this lofty end sound familiar, it is because they echo some of Abramović’s own performances, like the centerpiece of her blockbuster 2010 Museum of Modern Art retrospective, in which she and rapturous visitors stared into one another’s eyes, and her next New York show, at Sean Kelly in 2014, when she turned the gallery-going experience into one of sensory deprivation.

It’s just the artist’s latest effort to spread her hard-won knowledge; earlier this year, she partnered with WeTransfer to teach her mindfulness method while you wait for files to download.

The new instructions will be especially exciting for those who hoped to study the Method at the artist’s abortive Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art, which she scrapped in 2017, citing a fundraising shortfall.

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