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Museibesökare i konstnärens närvaro: Performativitet och det ritualiserande i Marina Abramović verk The Artist is Present.
Södertörn University, School of Culture and Education.
2012 (Swedish)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis [Artistic work]
Abstract [en]

In this essay I analyze the performative aspects relating to Marina Abramović's The Artist Is Present, which took place in spring 2010 at MoMA in New York, from the context of the artist and work, institution and documentation. In this performance work, for the duration of the exhibition, Abramović sits completely still opposite another chair where anyone from the audience may sit. The art arises through this participation. The audience are not only viewers, but also the observed, thus becoming part of the work and the negotiation of this exchange of living gazes. The performative pervades this work on multiple levels. The Artist Is Present reached a surprisingly large public, of over 500,000 visitors and continues to circulate in the form of blogs, documentary film and photography long after the exhibition duration.

In order to conduct a performative analysis of The Artist Is Present I apply the theories of Peggy Phelan, regarding the relationships between the political and representative visibility in contemporary culture. Phelan's explanation of the unmarked field reveals the importance of the 'other' to see oneself. This is especially relevant in Abramović's performance which challenges and revolves around self reflection in the other. Phelan's theories are also pertinent in analyzing what Abramović as the performer and her work create for re-negotiations around positions and the gaze. The assertions of Carol Duncan in considering the Art Museum as a place of ritual are applied to the ritualistic context of The Artist Is Present, which may well build up a form of liminality. Duncan's claims of the museum as ritual in combination with Phelan's theories provide interesting grounds to further investigate the effect and eventual mythology of the performance work and artist.

How do these contexts of institution, documentation, artist and art, which I propose contribute to a kind of myth creation, operate in a ritualized performance art work? This essay analyses these contexts together in order to find a connection between the performative aspects and the effect that they have on the viewer and receiver, which have contributed to the public success of this exhibition. Despite that we now live in an era of reproduction, perhaps the wishes of our era still revolve around a cult value? That even in this post industrial age of reproduction, new needs are recreated for mythology and cult? Or can it be that the reverse is true, that the rites and symbols speak to us before the mythology has fully arisen?


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 30 p.
Keyword [en]
Marina Abramović, performative, unmarked, ritual, performance, The Artist is Present, MoMA, Carol Duncan
Keyword [sv]
Marina Abramović, performativitet, ritual, Peggy Phelan, Carol Duncan, The Artist is Present, MoMA, Performance
National Category
Art History
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-18534OAI: diva2:606842
Subject / course
Art History
2013-01-17, Stockholm, 14:35 (Swedish)
Fine Art
Available from: 2013-02-21 Created: 2013-02-20 Last updated: 2013-02-21Bibliographically approved

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Muséebesökaren i konstnärens närvaro(2864 kB)237 downloads
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