The Cleaner. Marina Abramovic, the icon of perform...

The Cleaner. Marina Abramovic, the icon of performance for the first time in an Italian retrospective.

A celebrity, Marina Abramovic, such a success that, especially after the recent performance “The Artist is Present” of 2010, has come to get the recognition of another audience, circumscribable beyond the usual artistic circuit. It’s possible that many have heard her name in unusual contexts, pronounced by those who you could not have expected it to hear it from. This has caused a certain reluctance by the purists of art, questionable, however, due to a reputation that does not forget the value of many of its proposals, with which we must inevitably compare to and for which The Cleaner represents a way to understand the artist’s history and perhaps even today’s relationship with fame and success.

It starts with order with an early-stage in Belgrade as a painter, then it moves on from a second beginning shared with Ulay, ending with the last phase of a new solitary one that continues today. A path marked by three moments, where the knowledge of Ulay born in 1975 in the Netherlands is a salient feature. A sentimental relationship with the German artist was born, on which the job one adheres without bubbles. They become one and wander around Europe for years with an old police cellular van, also displayed in the courtyard of Palazzo Strozzi. Of their symbiosis they make it a field of analysis of relationships, a field of battles and reunions on which nothing is spared. Together they create Imponderabilia (1977), a historical Bolognese action, exhibited through a re-performance at the entrance to the Nobile floor, near the videos of Relation in Space (1976), Light / Dark (1977) and AAA-AAA (1978).

Particular importance is given to the re-performances that, alternating daily within the space, transform it into a place of presence and mutation. In addition to the aforementioned performance of ’77, there is also Cleaning the Mirror (1995), Luminosity (1997), The Freeing Series (1975 – 2018), respecting the artist’s will to keep alive the performance in its most peculiar essence. made of bodily presence.

The public is called to interact when the chairs and the table of The Artist is Present are revealed empty, ready to welcome anyone who wants to relive that moment, or in Counting the Rice (2015) invites us to reflect on the emptiness of the time taking note of the beans of rice distributed on the table. The work connects to the Transitory Objects series (1995-2015) which includes natural materials such as amethysts, quartzes, woods, metals arranged in such a way as to release energy from contact with the user. This research follows the end of the story with Ulay, epically closed with the performance The Lovers of 1988. The two decide to say goodbye going 2500 km per person in three months starting from opposite sides of the Great Wall of China. It is a painful end for Marina Abramovic scar sign of a new awareness of a new way to go.

With The Cleaner, the first major Italian retrospective, the public discovers the totality of the Serbian artist’s experience without encroaching on the exaltation of the myth. The selection of the works is always significant, aimed at giving the chronological system the reactionary, reflective, sometimes purely meditative character that the artist wanted to inspire in the observer.

Domenico Russo




Marina Abramovic. The Cleaner
September 21 2018 – January 20 2019
curated by Arturo Galansino, Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi, Lena Essling, Moderna Museet, con Tine Colstrup, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, e Susanne Kleine, Bundeskunsthalle Bonn
Palazzo Strozzi

Ulay/Marina Abramović AAA-AAA 1978, video 2 pollici trasferito su supporto digitale (b/n, sonoro), 12’57”. New York, Abramović LLC. Courtesy of Marina Abramović Archives e LIMA, MAC/2017/041Credit: © Ulay/Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. Marina Abramović by SIAE 2018

Ulay/Marina Abramović Relation in Space 1976, video ½” VHS trasferito su supporto digitale (b/n, sonoro), 59’28”. New York, Abramović LLC. Courtesy of Marina Abramović Archives e LIMA, MAC/2017/036. Courtesy of Marina Abramović Archives. Marina Abramović by SIAE 2018

Ulay/Marina Abramović Rest Energy 1980, video 16mm trasferito su supporto digitale (colore, sonoro), 4’04”. Amsterdam, LIMA Foundation. Courtesy of Marina Abramović Archives e LIMA, MAC/2017/034. Credit: © Ulay/Marina Abramović. Courtesy of Marina Abramović Archives. Marina Abramović by SIAE 2018


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