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Louisiana Museum of Modern Art opens Marina Abramović retrospective
Marina Abramović, The House with The Ocean View. Performance, 12 dage. Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, 2002 © Marina Abramović. Photo: © Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives.

HUMLEBÆK.- Marina Abramović (b. 1946 in Belgrade) is one of the seminal figures of body and performance art and from Saturday 17 June Louisiana Museum of Modern Art presents her works in the large retrospective exhibition ‘The Cleaner’. For fifty years the artist has been reacting to the world around her, and has inscribed herself in the history of art with physically and mentally demanding performances, ranging from the violent and risky actions of the 1970s to quieter exchanges of energy and encounters with the public.

Louisiana’s retrospective exhibition fills the museum’s South Wing. With more than 100 works it spans from early concept sketches, paintings and sound works to presentations of the artist’s performances up to the present day.

With her body and her energy as her primary material, Abramović has established a radical, uncompromising practice while the works are not intimately concerned with herself as such. Often the works consist of very few elements or just a simple action that is not clearly tied to any one particular narrative or agenda. The works are thus left open for many interpretations of a political and existential character – both in the 1970s and today.

Discharges and exchanges of energy run as a consistent theme throughout the oeuvre. Cleaning and purging, physically, mentally and symbolically, is a recurring theme, with tools as different as fire, screams, soapy water, minerals, time and silence. Catharsis, rites of passage and transformation are central concepts in the work, from the beginning and until now.

‘The Cleaner’ at Louisiana
The exhibition begins with one of the artist’s most intense sound works, Sound Corridor (War), 1971, which is a passage through a narrow corridor filled with the sound of machine-guns. It ends with the artist’s later ‘transformation works’, where we are invited to engage more quietly with one another and ourselves – and perhaps in this way shift the focus of our attention and senses. Between these poles the exhibition presents major works from the artist’s oeuvre structured chronologically. The dynamic alternates between the violent and the silence, between body and spirit, between the artist and us.

Marina Abramović uses ‘reperformance’ as a method of keeping performance art alive. Through ‘reperformance’ historic works are given new body and presence in real time rather than only existing as documentation – with the changes that naturally occur when a historic performance is realized by other performers in new contexts. In the exhibition Marina Abramović’s work Freeing the Voice, 1975 as well as Ulay and Marina Abramović’s work Imponderabilia, 1977, are ‘reperformed’.

The performers have been trained in Marina Abramović’s so-called Method in a five-day workshop led by Marina Abramović’s collaborator, American choreographer and performer Lynsey Peisinger.

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