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Seminar discusses the relations between performance art, life and death

by Richard Meckien - published Sep 09, 2014 02:05 PM - - last modified Sep 16, 2014 02:25 PM

Marina Abramovic
Marina Abramovic

The work of Serbian artist Marina Abramovic, a pioneer in long-term performance art, will be analyzed in the second seminar of the cycle Life Today: Love, Art, Politics, to be held on September 22, at 3 pm, at USP's Institute of Chemistry.

Organized by IEA-USP's Research Group The Future Inquires Us, the meeting will address the theme Marina Abramovic: Art and Life hanging by a thread. Exhibitors will be philosopher Renato Janine Ribeiro, professor of USP's Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH) and coordinator of the research group, and anthropologist Massimo Canevacci, visiting professor at the IEA-USP.

According to Janine, "the art of Abramovic serves to question life while life questions art - and this life is constantly hung by a thread, at risk of death."

Considered the "grandmother of performance art," Abramovic began her career in the 1970s, intending to use her own body as subject and object, theme and medium of expression. Her work explores the physical and mental limits of the human being, seeking to increase the strength and awareness, and exposes the relations between the artist and the audience.

Marina e Ulay
Marina Abramovic and artist Ulay during the performance of "The Artist Is Present", at the MoMA, New York

"The artist has been and still is a pioneer in the development of a kind of art in which the public is not only a spectator, but an active co-creator of the work, a body-work that mixes political tragedy and longing explosion, myth and history, sublimated violence and the discovery of Unheimlich [German expression that could be translated to 'strangely familiar'] in the other and in yourself,"Janine says.

Abramovic was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist of the Venice Biennale in 1997 and received the decoration of the Austrian Science and Art Order of Merit in 2010, same year in which the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) held the first major retrospective of her work.

Alongside the exhibition, the artist developed one of her best known works, entitled "The Artist Is Present". The performance had a total duration of 700 hours, during which she sat in a chair at MoMa, six days a week over three months, while the visitors were invited to remain silent and face to face with the performer for the time they wished.

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Cycle of seminars

First seminar
Love in Technological Times: "Her" in Solitude
August 11, 2014


Opened in August, the cycle of seminars Life Today: Love, Art, Politics encompasses four monthly meetings. In the upcoming seminars, Janine, Canevacci and philosopher Olgária Matos, all members of the Research Group The Future Inquires Us, will discuss the future of politics in the context of profound changes in personal relationships, and the abandonment of metaphorical thinking in favor of literal language.

Exceptionally, Matos, who is a professor at FFLCH and coordinator of IEA-USP's Humanities and the Contemporary World Research Group, will not participate in this second meeting.

The event will be broadcast live on the web.



Photos (from the top): Manfred Werner and Youtube

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