Wednesday, April 14, 2010


 Part of what I love best about being a writer is the artist's eye. The ability to be inspired by almost anything anywhere and sometimes that anything is another artist.

Marina Abramovic.

I remember the first time I saw her as part of a contemporary exhibition at MoMA. She was brushing her hair and saying the artist must be beautiful over and over on the film until her enthusiastic brush strokes became pained and yet she kept her mantra. The artist must be beautiful.

I saw her work again as part of a WACK feminist show at PS1 which showed the list of items that were placed on a table and that visitors of that exhibition were able to use in any way they wanted with her. A loaded gun was one of those items. She had several talks around the city at one time and I kept thinking I wanted to go but work and life prevented me.

At FIAF, I watched a documentary about her life and saw the fearless things that she did, including cutting a star of David into her stomach. In all of her performances--as she is a performance artist for the most part-- she uses her body in a way that shows stamina and dedication to her art, in a way I aspire to as an artist.

When I heard that she was going to have a show at MOMA, I was so excited and when I heard she was going to be there in person as part of the exhibition I was floored. I remember being in the museum and seeing a woman all black, very distinguished looking and, like I said with an artist's eye, someone who really caught my attention like a character I wished I had created, her presence was so palpable.

What caught my eye was Marina Abramovic I realized after awhile and I was not even surprised.

I spent an evening with her right before the exhibition started--me and many others at what was billed as an evening with Marina Abramovic-- and she read from her manifesto where she repeated a new mantra, the artist must be erotic, the artist must be erotic, the artist must be erotic...for an aspiring writer of erotica ala Anais Nin, that was a mantra I took and owned.

Going to the exhibition--the first of its kind ever at MoMA-- for a performance artist, where part of the exhibition is people reenacting past performances of her. Abramovic herself performed once again in the Atrium, where she sat in a gown that puddles down to the ground. She does not eat, drink or talk during museum hours but sits in the middle of the vast atrium and anyone can sit across from her and play the ultimate game of chess, as she sits and looks across at them. I have not got a bit of her nerve, and for me as a communicator it would be too hard to sit across from an artist who has inspired me as much as she has and say nothing.

But from the distance, I looked at her, her face calm like a still body of water, nothing nervous about her, her pose as always impeccable and the long gown that puddles over her feet, her body still the ultimate canvas. During museum hours the website for the exhibtion allows you to watch her live. I admire her focus and thought that I need to be into my own creative process—with even a fraction of her stamina, focus and daring.♥


  1. mmmm....don't know if I have much patience for this kind of stuff, but your post is so interesting and insightful, Fidencia, I might have to take another look! Thanks for the thoughts.....and good luck on your own artistic journey.
    (Have to say this chick reminds me of being on the subway and always having to not must be kind of freaky to "look" as the people are doing in the video. Weird. I don't know if I get "it" though.)

  2. Hi Fidencia,

    Fascinating post. I saw Marina Abramovic give a lecture this autumn at Location One, a privately owned gallery in Soho. The lecture included a slide show of performance artists. Listening to audience members' questions during the Q&A e.g., "What is the role of relic in your work?" I felt a mixture of emotions, including, I confess, some bemusement. That said, the lecture served a purpose--it made me examine and well, think. How can that ever be bad?

  3. Fidencia,

    I saw the notice in the Times for the exhibit. I was intrigued and alarmed at the same time; then played it safe by viewing some of her work on-line. To me, artists of this caliber are brilliant, but the risks she took in her earlier career . . . . Like Marina for you, I felt a commanding presence when I first saw Kara Walker. Her hair at times in pig-tails, on the floor creating her disturbing silhouettes of slave narratives of the antebellum south. Disturbing and yet, mesmerizing, pulling you closer and closer and with each step revealing something even more disturbing. When you leave exhibits like these, you are energized and inspired, because as much as you were disturbed you appreciate, and perhaps to a degree see through, as you say, the artist’s eye.

  4. I think I've seen her "perform" before or someone like her. I can't remember exactly where but it was definitely weird to have people as "live art." But how brave and sensual and mesmerizing. Thanks for making us look outside the box, FS.

  5. I don't know...sometimes what one person sees as art, I just see as bad judgement. Why carve a symbol into your flesh? Why not get a tattoo? The trouble with doing it with a knife is that you don't really know how the thing is going to look after it heals--the scars may obscure the fact that it's supposed to be a Star of David. If she got a tattoo of the star, it would look exactly as she intended, and perhaps convey her message more clearly. But I'm all for intensity--art requires clarity and focus--no question about that. Elizabeth Palladino