The Archives: Marina Ambramović
Marina Ambramović: The Teacher
Interview by Andrea Blanch
Your work allows for a sense of transformation in both the artist and the audience. Can you talk about how the physical experience can be spiritually and mentally transformative?
It’s not just an acute physical experience, it’s about taking physical time. This is why I came up with the idea of long durational performance work, which takes a very long time to execute. My institute that I am trying to establish in Hudson is based solely on the concept of long durational, and not just in performance, in film, music, opera, dance, and song. I think we are living in very turbulent times where we don’t have any time for ourselves. In order to get to a certain state of mind as a performer you need time. The audience also needs time to receive what you’re giving them. You have to take physical time for transformation to happen. You can’t have this kind of experience in 3 seconds. It’s very simple. For example, the door in the studio; you open the door but you don’t exit or answer the door, you continue opening the door in slow motion for a long time, 10 minutes, one hour, 3 hours, 6 hours. After some time has passed the door is not the door anymore and the action is not the action anymore. They have become something else. We reach a different state of consciousness that can lead to a spiritual destination.
It’s the antithesis of being in New York City. Are you trying to slow down time to create a possibility of transformation?
I try … but actually I succeed. At The Artist is Present at MOMA, I was very, very shocked that I experienced individuals sitting with me for up to 7 hours in a city where people have no time. It was shocking to me. I thought that nobody would even participate, but the chair in front of me was never empty. So the need for people to have their own experience is enormous, not just of being the viewer but of being an active participant.
Read the full interview here!