Artist: Marina Abramović
Condensed Biography: Abramović is a performance artist who began her career in the early 1970s. In her art practice she mainly explores themes of pain, physical resistance and relationships between bodies. Works include sculpture, video, installation and performance.
Location: New York, United States
Artwork: Rhythm 2 (1974)
Genre: performance art, conceptual art
Description: At the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Abramović took psychoactive medications in front of an audience, experiencing and reporting their effects in an open and trusting way. First, she took medication for schizophrenia and experienced the effects for 50 minutes: “My muscles contract violently and I lose control”. Then she took medication for acute catatonia and sat for six hours: “I feel cold, then lose consciousness, forgetting who I am and where I am.” By subjecting herself to an experience in which she was passive to the effects of drugs and at the same time watched by the public, Abramović presented herself in a state of extreme vulnerability: with both body and mind distorted by chemical action, she became an object of medical curiosity. This public experience of drugs with powerful physical and psychological effects comprised part of her research into the knowledge gained through loss of control.
Quotes from Marina Abramović, Artist’s statement 1974
Description from Amelia Jones, Tracey Warr “The Artist’s Body”, Phaidon Press, New York 2006.
bio (medicines affect on the brain) • art (performance art) • ira