Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Journalist. Mother. Bunny enthusiast. Pop culture junkie.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Craziest Sane Woman in the World

In the past four decades, Marina Abramovic has almost died dozens of times in the name of art.



The self-proclaimed "grandmother of performance art" has stabbed herself with knives, immersed her body in ice for hours, experimented with drugs, and allowed strangers to molest her.

Her passion for the art form arose in the 1960s, when the Serbian 20-something-year-old participated in protests and sit-ins. Her behavoir at the demonstrations began alarming people. By the 1970s, she was conducting artistic performances that shocked the world.

For her first performance, Marina cut herself with knives and recorded the sound. In another, she took two prescription drugs, which induced seizures and then immobility, just out of curiosity to see how her healthy body would react.



One of her most legendary performances was in Naples when she allowed the public to prod, probe and abuse her body. Lying still on a table, she was surrounded by matches, lipstick, saws, nails, and even a gun with a single bullet. Visitors were invited to do whatever they wanted with her body. Nobody held back. The artist was marked, scratched, probed, drenched with cold water, and held at gunpoint. Afterwards, Marina was heavily shaken because she realized she nearly escaped death. She started being more careful in her experiments.



In 1976, Marina met Ulay, a performance artist from Germany. Together they created live performances where they ran around a room, drove their car inside a museum for 365 laps, and stood nude in a doorway, causing strangers to squeeze between them in order to pass.

They also created the "Death Self," where they connected their mouths and took in each other's oxygen for 17 minutes, until they fell to the floor unconscious, their lungs filled with carbon dioxide.

In 1988, the couple decided to end their relationship during a spiritual journey. They both walked the Great Wall of China, starting from the two opposite ends and meeting in the middle to say goodbye.



Marina's most recent exhibit, "The Artist is Present," was at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC last spring. Marina sat silently still for more than 700 hours, while spectators were invited to sit opposite her. The event attracted several celebrities, including Sharon Stone and Isabella Rossellini. More than 850,000 people attended, many staying in line overnight, for a chance to sit with Marina.



The results of the exhibit surprised Marina. Gazing into her eyes, thousands of people burst into tears after just minutes after silent staring. On blogs and Facebook, people shared their experiences with Marina, often citing it as religious or life-altering. The artist realized she had become a mirror for those people's emotions.

In order to prepare for the event, Marina had undergone a training program devised by NASA. She ate certain foods, so she didn't have to use the restroom for seven hours. She developed an unusual sleeping pattern. She meditated.

But sitting still in a wooden chair without armrests wasn't easy. The physical pain was almost torturous for the artist, but she persevered for the love of her art.



...kind of makes you wonder what you're doing with your life, doesn't it?


I've included a few videos you might find interesting:


A very short video where James Franco faces down the artist during her famous "The Artist is Present" exhibit last year.


A fascinating interview between James Franco and the artist. Watch if you are riveted by her work or you simply just enjoy watching James Franco talk and eat.


Lady Gaga gushes over her favorite performance artist, Marina Abramovic.

52 comments:

MG said...

I mean, she's amazing, obviously. Maybe not so sane though...

Vicky K. said...

Great pics!

Vicky
new post:here comes the sun, and I say it's all right
&
follow me

Vintage Vixen said...

That's absolutely insane. They do say art is anything that causes a reaction and her work really does. I'm not sure if I could have beared to watch anyone being abused in such a way though, art or not.
Wonderful piece. xx

Jade said...

Great post. I found this SO interesting and I'm off to read her Wikipedia page in a minute! Her 'performance' in Naples sounds like opening herself to literal torture just for art but I'm still intrigued enough to have wanted to see that live. Not that I would have even gone near her! Can't believe that she sat still on a wooden chair for more than 700 hours. I like that she did that for art though, and people like David Blaine do it just to show that they can! x

Tabatha said...

Very interesting post! Everytime I visit your blog, I learn something new, that's great :-)

I think she's very driven, that's why she has to go on & on, torturing herself & what not. I'm not sure if I see a sense in what she does, but it's absolutely fascinating. Maybe her Wiki page will enlighten me a little about her motives.

Dahl said...

Wow, what an interesting person, to say the least. I certainly wouldn't risk my life like her, but it's fascinating what she's doing for art! The exhibit at the museum of modern art sounds amazing...wish I could've gone...http://thearcenciel.blogspot.com/

Rafael Franco said...

Hello

Oh GOD! I loved her. I didn't know about her work, but I'm glad to know her by your blog. It's a really interesting artist.

kisses from Brazil*

http://neopopculture.blogspot.com/

BlueVanilla said...

Awesome post...verryyyy interesting the things people do for something they love.
xx


Enter my M.A.C Giveaway!

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

I've never heard of her, J-Fab. But I'm in the mood for art, I just come to your blog.

Jennifer said...

Another fabulous lady that I had no idea about until now! Keep it coming girl! <3

xoXOxo
Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

I personally think shes nutso. In a genius sort of way =) haha

Venus In Virgo said...

She is awesome,love her! OMG! I didn't get that cover,I want it!!!
XOXO

LiezyL said...

oh my, shes so amazing!!

Vivek Nanda said...

Wow...amazing we have such unique people..

Christopher said...

That takes a lot of determination. Very impressive.

Miss Caitlin S. said...

I have never heard of her, that's really, really interesting. I don't think the cutting and what not is impressive but literally everything else you depicted sounds incredible- I would have LOVED to see her in real life and her face to James Franco is really amazing, how does she not laugh- I can see why people would cry, she seems a bit more than human. Thanks for sharing. (ps I kinda like her outfit in those chairs).

Kavery said...

Talented but in a weird way!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

Such an appropriate title. I love the reverence with which James Franco treated her after their brief sitting.

Mimi said...

okay, normally i would say she's crazy... but that level of dedication to her art is just amazing. wow!

<3, Mimi
http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/

Reese Milania said...

Stabbed herself a lot of times, Wow that is just crazy!!!

Thanks for dropping by on my blog!!

http://reesemilania.blogspot.com/

Hot Cake Fashion-In the horizon said...

I always love to stop by and read your posts, what an interesting artist and what a scary experiment having a loaded gun and pretty much asking people (strangers) to do basically what they want..stupidity or being genious?..Anyways,your great, and thanks for the congrats, a bit nervous and big really, I guess that I have got used to the comfort of home, sewing and simply not dealing with customers in that way, now I'm a Manager and have lots of responsibility..puh..and good:-?Big Hugs!

syieranuar said...

she's really wicked! hahaha. what a personality she have! but i've never heard about her before and your post makes me go google about it!

have a nice day dear :)

Leia said...

WOW. This woman is incredible! What happened in Naples sounds really scary... you would think that people would have more consideration than actually harming someone who has put herself out there for the sake of art.

Leia

Leia said...

WOW. This woman is incredible! What happened in Naples sounds really scary... you would think that people would have more consideration than actually harming someone who has put herself out there for the sake of art.

Leia

Fashion, Art and other fancies said...

I am very familiar with her artworks, though I'm not overly keen on them all. She does portray a strong and dynamic message to the public.

Josie said...

Wow... Definitely interesting if a bit nerve-wracking.
xo Josie
http://winksmilestyle.blogspot.com

Sherin said...

Wow. She sounds so amazing!I can't believe all the really interesting things that she's done.

Oh and thanks for the 2 James Frnaco clips at the end, hehe.

Mary said...

I found this post really interesting!
I like it.
Have a nice weekend
xx Mary
fashionbteaat5.blogspot.com

*chameleon* said...

how not to love her if she's not only extremely talented,original and genial person,but she's also from Serbia,like me!:DD great post J!:))

Vanilla said...

Wow thats intense, a bit crazy but interesting.

Love, Vanilla

http://vanillaheartsstyle.blogspot.com/

Couture Carrie said...

Very cool post!
Thanks for introducing me to this artist!

xoxox,
CC

a woman's right to shoes said...

Wow, she's amazing! This was such an interesting post, I didn't really know that much about her. What some people do for their art, simply mindblowing.

Cafe Fashionista said...

How have I never heard of this woman before? J'adore you for introducing me to her - she is amazing!! :)

Jazzy E (hivennn) said...

Fantastic. x hivennn

daisychain said...

Wow, what an incredible woman! You do the best posts x

Tights Lover said...

Wow...just......yeah, wow.

I like the "Marina was heavily shaken...started being more careful.." quote. No offense, but I'm a bit ascared to set foot in Naples, never mind giving people carte blanche to beat the hell out of me when I'm there.

No doubt she's a fascinating person though. I think most of us are scared of pain and death, she seemed to feed off of it. This was an outstanding post (she needs a chapter in your book, I think).

ps. Don't worry, you're secret is safe with me. And of course I don't think you're weird. I think people who don't are weird :-).

Courtney Erin said...

This was amazing to read!

xoxo ~ Courtney
http://sartorialsidelines.blogspot.com

Stasha said...

Great post! Thanks for comment doll, kisses from Serbia!:))

Star-Light said...

great post!

the videos are very interesting!

http://starlightsworld.blogspot.com/

Jenni Wells said...

Fantastic artist feature. The post and videos gave the chills, for real.

I had never heard of her before and can't wait to share your post with my husband tonight.

jenniwells.blogspot.com

A N G E L A said...

i saw her in the MOMA!! really impressive!

great post!

xx

fashionbit

Pop Champagne said...

hmm she sounds interesting, but yeah not sane at all! very unique though. and lol at lady gaga ,I love how she says everyone is aspiring except madonna, who she blatently copy her style and her latest single from

Katie said...

Craaaaaaazy! I've never heard of her! I loved the video of Gaga talking about her as well, geez I have been living under a rock. To sit there for three months, that is unheard of. Really, really cool. Can't wait to see what you share with us next ;)

P.S. I'm glad we're blogging buddies as well :) Have a lovely weekend xo

Audrey Allure said...

I haven't heard of her before her exhibit at MoMa, I heard of her because of the whole James Franco thing (I adore him!) But she sounds amazing, and I would love to see her live.

FashionJazz said...

Wow, shes amazing! I could never do what she does and in fact up untill your post I didnt know about her, thanks for sharing. Hope you have a lovely wknd xx

yiqin; said...

Love gaga <3

Beth Dunn said...

Wow! She is interesting
xoxo
SC

Cheryl: Oh to Be a Muse said...

i can't believe people actually started crying after staring at her for a few moments. very weird. i can't believe she didn't die from all those artistic stunts. kudos to her!

Amandamarie said...

this was incredibly interesting and i can't believe i never knew about her before! loved the post

xxx

Grace said...

These pics Are awesome. Thank you for sharing. Xxx
www.this-grace.com

Dina's Days said...

This is really out there. I really don't see the correlation between physically harming yourself on purpose and art. But hey, maybe that's why I'm not an artist. I can't even sit here and act like I think she's cool, I think it's pretty twisted actually. I think I'd rather just paint a picture of a house and a garden for the sake of art than see how my body would react to certain drugs. James on the other hand, is pretty freaking cute.

Heather Taylor said...

Performance art has never really been one of my favorite areas of the artistic world. I feel far too often it's done simply for the shock value and while Marina's work is definitely eyebrow-raising, she took it too far with surrounding herself with all of those objects to abuse herself with. There comes a moment when you do everything you can to shock and I'm beginning to wonder if very soon, our culture will be immune to shock value.

OceanDreams said...

oh wow, i would never be able to do that sort of thing. she seems really out there, but if she is passionate about art then i can understand to an extent.