Mirror Your Audience: Four Life Lessons From Performance Artist Marina Abramović
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“What is art? I feel that if we see art as something isolated, something holy and separate from everything, that means it’s not life. Art must be a part of life. Art has to belong to everybody.”
Part of Abramovic’s success comes from her fearlessness in using performance art to explore fundamental questions of humanity. In another famous piece, she lived in front of the audience in three open rooms - a living room, bedroom and bathroom. She invited the audience to watch her doing mundane daily tasks, providing a way for them to find the art in their own lives.
In 2010, Marina Abramovic performed The Artist is Present, where she sat for eight hours a day for three months. In this special exhibit, Abramovic is sitting in one of the galleries. You wait in line to sit across her. Some people sit for a moment, others for long stretches. The experience is like looking at a living painting.
She trained for months to build the physical stamina to perform the piece. She commented on how the performance demonstrated the deep need for people to connect.
“It’s interesting with art. Some people have the ability—and the energy—not just to make the work, but to make sure it’s put in exactly the right place, at the right moment. Some artists realize they have to spend as much time as it took them to get an idea in finding the way to show it, and the infrastructure to support it. And some artists just don’t have that energy, and have to be taken care of, by art lovers or collectors or the gallery system.”
"Human beings are afraid of very simple things: we fear suffering, we fear mortality."
Finding a way to accept and process fear is a task that can be mastered, but we have to be willing to acknowledge and explore our fears. When we confront what we are afraid to do, we find great opportunities to develop and grow.
“All at once it occurred to me—why paint? Why should I limit myself to two dimensions when I could make out from anything at all: fire, water, the human body? Anything! There was something like a click in my mind—I realized that being an artist meant having immense freedom.”
We need to continue searching until we find our "clicks". Limiting ourselves to the average may not be enough.
Making ideas and selling them require different skills that one person is not always capable of.
When we know our capabilities, we can be successful by knowing how and where to ask for help. We have to play a part in getting recognised. We can't expect everything just to happen.
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"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. " ~ Derek Bok
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