Marina Abramović Announces New Participatory Performance Project in Athens

Participants will "examine human boundaries, strength and possibly trust."

Marina Abramović (with the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art she recieved in 2008) at the screening of Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present during the Vienna International Film Festival 2012, Gartenbaukino. Photo: Manfred Werner / Tsui Via: Wikimedia Commons
Marina Abramović
Photo: Manfred Werner / TsuiVia: Wikimedia Commons.

Marina Abramović is slated to have a busy spring. The artist will lead a large-scale performance project at the Benaki Museum in Athens beginning March 10.

Athens-based non-profit arts organization NEON, Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), and Abramović herself will join forces in a program of “Performance and Immaterial Art” at the museum. “NEON-MAI Lab” will run in tandem with a second program of events also at the museum, which uses the Abramović Method to engage viewers, who quickly become participants.

“We live in a world of constant distraction, where taking the time to connect to ourselves is becoming more and more difficult,” said Abramović of the project. ”I have designed this experience to give the public the opportunity to be free from these distractions and to be connected with themselves, with each other, and with the present moment. Never has this been more relevant, than in Greece in these trying times.”

Marina Abramović <i>House with Ocean View</i> performance <br> Photo: photo: by Steven P. Harris Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives Sean Kelly Gallery New York, 2002

Marina Abramović, House with Ocean View performance at Sean Kelly Gallery New York (2002)
Photo by Steven P. Harris. Image: Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives.

“We are all working around the clock to produce an amazing experience for the audience,” NEON’s director Elina Kountouri told artnet News. She explained that “Abramović and her team” trained a group Greek performance artists in the Abramović Method. As a result, “the whole building at the Benaki Museum will be transformed into a vivid performance space where people examine human boundaries, strength and possibly trust.” 

Kountouri feels the collaboration is a natural one. “Our aim with NEON is to bring contemporary culture closer to the general public, not only the connoisseurs, and support and present the potential of Greek creativity.” 

The Abramovic Method Photo: © Christian Cravo Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives

Marina Abramović, Terra Comunal: Marina Abramovic + MAI, The Abramovic Method.
Photo: © Christian Cravo Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives.

NEON-MAI Lab will consist of Abramović herself working with the handpicked emerging artists on the principles of her artistic method. Developed over 40 years of practice, the series of exercises that make up the Abramović Method are designed to push the boundaries of the body and mind. The resulting work is intended to blur the line between the public and the art being created.

Abramović has had her hands full in recent months while in legal dispute with ex-husband Ulay and penning her autobiography, so this project may provide a welcome artistic outlet for the artist.

NEON-MAI Lab will be on view from 10 March – 24 April 2016 at the Benaki Museum in Athens; public participatory events will also take place at the museum.


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