I have just received the invitation for next exhibition of Marina Abramović: With Eyes Closed I See Happiness which opens on 20 March 2012 in Lia Rumma gallery. The exhibition is the second of the major events which the artist, the pioneer and key figure of Body Art, will present in Milan. On the previous day, she will present The Abramović Method at the PAC museum.
Both events are new projects – and, indeed, the phrase “an artist should never repeat him/herself” is part of her “Artist’s life Manifesto” – the first to be presented after the titanic performance The Artist is present, given at MoMA in New York in 2010.For three months, each day and for seven hours a day, the artist presented herself to the public at MoMa by remaining seated, motionless and absolutely silent, opposite a chair that never remained empty. Thousands of people took turns to sit on the chair and an extraordinary flow of energy was created just through the power of the gaze. In her performances in the seventies, Marina Abramović subjected herself to numerous trials of physical and psychic endurance, challenging every limit and taboo linked to the body, while today the artist is interested in the concept of duration and a more intense relationship with her public.
This is the sense in which the works performed at the Lia Rumma Gallery should be interpreted. The title of the exhibition, which also describes the new state of the artist, comes from a rewarding and regenerating method of exercise: With Eyes Closed I See Happiness. It is an attainable truth which reveals infinite possibilities in its implied invitation to look inside yourself, leaving the world far behind.
The importance of this practice is emphasized by a group of sculptures placed on glass pedestals, made from a plaster cast of the artist’s head covered in quartz crystals. A series of large photographic works contribute to the atmosphere and illustrate the simple and unadorned gestures made by the artist to elevate her spirit. Because only in the dense and illuminated time of meditation and in the active truce of silence is it possible to make space and attain the essence.
But her best performance is probably Imponderabilia, the one with she did her lover Ulay, in Bologna, 1977, where, the couple stood naked against the walls of the narrow entrance to the museum facing each other.