"To be a performance artist," Marina Abramovic stated in a recent interview "you have to hate theatre. Theatre is fake...The knife is not real, the blood is not real and the emotions are not real. Peformance is just the opposite. The knife is real, the blood is real, and the emotions are real."
Marina who was born in Belgrade in 1946, experiments with what she calls 'true reality', and she is willing to do almost anything to test the limits of the human psche. In her more then forty years of performing she has subjected herself to extraordinary physical and psychological pain; inviting her public to probe and abuse her, sometimes self-mutilating and exposing her body to possible harm.
For her performance of The Artist is Present at the MOMA, Marina prepared her body for months to endure from mid March through till May, the 7 hours a day in which she sat motionless and silent on a wooden chair, illuminated by a circle of light. Members of the public were invited to sit opposite her as long as they maintained the same silent pose, and stared into her eyes.
Her performance broke all attendence records, and was not without controversy, especially when 'celebrities' like Sharon Stone and Isabella Rosselini were allowed to skip the queue.
"I gazed into the eyes of so many people who were carrying such pain inside that I could immediately see it and feel it."
Many of the more then 850 000 people who attended her performance quickly became emotional, often describing the experience later in quasi-religious terms. For some it was an unforgettable moment of intimate human connection...
"I test the limits of myself in order to transform myself, but I also take the energy from the audience and transform it...A powerful performance will transform everyone in the room", Marina observes in an interview with Sean O Hagen of The Observer.
Already in her mid sixties, Marina continues to expand the perimeters of performance through The Marina Abramovic Foundation for Preservation of Performance art in Manhatten, because "performance art has to live and survive..."