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Seven Easy Pieces by Marina Abramovic

Film Screening
Wednesday, June 12
7 – 8:30 pm
Jackman Hall
Members $10 | Public $12 | Students $8
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Seven Easy Pieces by Marina Abramovic, 2007 (93 minutes), director Babette Mangolte.

Babette Mangolte's film documents the week-long series of performances that Marina Abramovic re-enacted in the rotunda of the Guggenheim Museum in 2005. Abramovic interpreted performance works from the 1960s and ‘70s by Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, VALIE EXPORT, Gina Pane and Joseph Beuys, as well as her own works — interpreting them as one would a musical score.

 

 In her February 2006 statement about the film, Babette Mangolte writes:

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 Abramovic''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 Abramovic'. 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.

Marina Abramović is also participating in this year's Luminato Festival, which runs June 14–23. For more information, visit www.luminatofestival.com

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