Marina Abramovic: Seven Easy Pieces Solomon R. Guggenheim MuseumNew York, New York
November 9-15, 20055 PM -12 AM
For Seven Easy Pieces Marina Abramovic reenacted five seminal performance works by her peers, dating from the 1960’s and 70’s, and two of her own, interpreting them as one would a musical score. The project confronted the fact that little documentation exists from this critical early period and one often has to rely upon testimony from witnesses or photographs that show only portions of any given performance.
The seven works were performed for seven hours each, over the course of seven consecutive days, November 9 –15, 2005 at the Guggenheim Museum, in New York City. Seven Easy Pieces examines the possibilities of representing and preserving an art form that is, by nature, ephemeral.Script and performance by Marina Abramovic, Film by Babette Mangolte HD Cam tape 5.1 sound 93 minutes © 2007
Filmmaker’s Original Statement written in February 2006
The film of Seven Easy Pieces by Marina Abramovic is about the performing body and how it affects viscerally the people who confronts it, looks at it and participates in the transcendental experience that is its primary affect. The ceremonial and meditative are the common responses to the weeklong series of performances that took place in November 2005 in the Guggenheim Museum in New York. From an art event to a social phenomenon, the seven performances became the talk of the town because it created among the visitors a sense of sublimation like prayer. The film attempts to reveal the mechanisms of this transcendental experience by just showing the performer’s body living the events inscribed in each pieces with details that outline the body fragility, versatility, tenacity and unlimited endurance.
The fascination comes from the revelation of the physical transformation of Marina Abramović’s exposed body due to the rigorous discipline of being there on display each day for seven hours without any restrictive boundaries. The relentless progress of time is revealed each day by the acoustic of the building with its waves of crowd that roll like an ocean and marvel at the performer’s steadfastness with respectful silence. That the performer’s required discipline had to be so different from one piece to the next is one of the mysteries. How the attentive audience feed into the art and Marina’s aesthetics is what is explored. It is as if a monastic urge attracted the mystic among us viewers that were there to participate. And the film, by focusing on Marina’s minute changes and strains along the long seven hours of each piece, explores in a systematic way a body without limit and increases the awareness of how participatory body art is.
The film will be 90 minutes long and follows the linearity inscribed in the week event, from body pressure, audience participation and confrontation in the first three pieces to the ceremonial in the last four pieces as mapped out by Marina Abramović. It is only after the fact that the film viewer will realize how much the project concept enlightens us on aesthetics that privileged physical experience over reason, process over iconography and testifies to the power of audience participation over passive spectatorship.Essay by Babette Mangolte.
Vito Acconci SeedbedSonnabend Gallery, New York January 15-29, 1972 Original Duration: twice a week; six hours each day
Marina Abramovic's Performance of Vito Acconci 's SeedbedSolomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York November 10, 2007 Duration: 7 hours
“Room A: Activated on Wednesday and SaturdayThe room is activated by my presence underground, underfoot – by my movement from point to point under the ramp. The goal of my activity is the production of seed – the scattering of my seedthroughout the underground area. (My aim to concentrate on my goal, to be totally enclosed within my goal.) The means to this goal is private sexual activity. (My attempt is to maintain the activity throughout the day, so that a maximum of seed is produced; my aim is to have constant contact with my body so that a maximum of seed is produced; my aim is to have constant contact with my body so that an effect from my body is carried outside.)My aids are the visitors to the gallery -- in my seclusion, I can have private Images of them, talk to myself about them: my fantasies about them can excite me, enthuse me to sustain – to resume – my private sexual activity.(The seed ‘planted’ on the floor, then, is a joint result of my performance and theirs.)” Text on panels written and posted by the artist on the gallery wall during the exhibition at Sonnabend Gallery, 1972. Robert Pincus-Witten, "Vito Acconci and the Conceptual Performance," Artforum (New York) 10, no. 8 (April 1972), p. 48.