Marina Abramović in Taobuk: «Love without conditions will change us»


By John

Dressed in black and without the regulation braid but with her hair loose, Marina Abramovic showed up a little cold but with a performance of words and repetitions. The game is to repeat some sentences three times, to fix them in the mind, in the heart: «We are falling in love with our planet, we must stop treating it as if it were rubbish. We are learning to love all human beings. Love without any conditions will change us. Together we will change the world.” And he explains: «In this historical moment, in which humanity is affected by wars, there are people who have many things to say, including artists. For me it is important to have an overall vision of what humanity is today. War is always death. His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said that if we all forgive each other, we will stop killing each other. With this feeling I wrote the sentences I dedicated to you.” Great Navy.

Among the life conducts of an artist, she includes a very specific condition: «The artist should stand for a long time near an erupting volcano». And she, in these days, has chosen Etna, since she is a guest of Taobuk and yesterday evening she was the protagonist of a meeting with the public, requested by the journalist Roberta Scorranese and the general director of the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, Arturo Galansino. The presentation is what she writes in her autobiography: «Crossing walls»:

«I come from a dark place. Post-war Yugoslavia.from the mid-1940s to the mid-1970s. A communist dictatorship, headed by Marshal Tito. A constant shortage of everything, and grayness everywhere. It is a characteristic of communism and socialism: a kind of aesthetics of absolute ugliness. The Belgrade of my childhood did not even have the monumentality of Moscow’s Red Square.

Marina Abramovic, pioneer of body art and now star – many people were waiting for her in front of her hotel – fled from that Belgrade without ever freeing herself from her past: maybe that’s why she went through life challenging the limits of body and mind, shocking and enchanting with extreme and dangerous performances. Today she is “happy to be free”.

But that mother who trained her to be a soldier like her with beatings and slaps, who used to give up anesthesia at the dentist, she still carries inside her: «I hate physical pain but I can only overcome it during performances. It’s an unbearable wall but if you manage to cross it you gain new energy. I need the public to do this.”

In fact, over the years she has laid bare her body and soul in front of audiences all over the world, always very good at separating the body from the emotions, playing with its “shell”, putting it in danger: she whipped herself until she could no longer feel the lashes; she screamed until she lost her voice, she set herself on fire, she cut her belly, she injured her fingers with a knife, she remained sitting for six days on a mountain of rotten bones, cleaning them. A way to wash away the atrocities of the war in the Balkans. His land.

Then he meets Ulay, a German artist with an ephebic air who, from ’76 and for the following 12 years, will be his partner in life and art. One of the pair’s most important time-based works – which addresses both vulnerability and identity – is the famous 1977 performance «Imponderabilia», in which Marina and Ulay stood naked facing each other in a very narrow entrance that forced visitors to pass sideways and, in doing so, to choose which of the two to approach.

But since even for artists love is eternal while it lasts, they too said goodbye not in front of a glass but after a ninety-day walk on the Great Wall of China. Starting from opposite directions, obviously.