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Nigianni, Betty (2010)
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Since the 1970’s performance artist Marina Abramovic has deployed the idea of experience as a key element of her artistic practice. Focusing on selected projects this paper will examine in particular spatial and architectural experience as addressed by Abramovic: from her early experimental work, exploring notions of ‘empty space’ and performance-based, body-oriented responses to architecture, to her 1990’s exhibitions of ‘transitory objects’, as well as her most recent curations of live-events. The paper will discuss how, in these works, spatial and architectural experience become vehicles for engaging audiences with the performance, leading to their transformation. Drawing upon Walter Benjamin’s philosophical concept of experience, as shaped by early Romantic ideas of self-reflection and self-transformation understood through questions relating to the cognition of form, the article will subsequently argue that Abramovic addresses spatial and architectural experience as critical, self-reflective practice. In this context, further drawing upon Benjamin’s theory of immanent criticism, which proposed that the unfolding of the essence of the artwork from within itself occurs at the moment when it is experienced, I will argue that Abramovic’s work actively encourages an anti-historicist attitude towards art and architecture. Such attitude pushes beyond any notions of achieving ‘auratic’ ends, while it fosters, instead of passive spectatorship, the public’s active engagement. For this reason, I will describe Abramovic’s practice as developing a performative interrelationship between space, architecture, artistic performance and audiences, encouraging multiple, constantly reconfigured responses to art and architecture through active engagement with the processes of art production and reception.
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