Yesterday, students from the Theatre program at the Tasmanian College of the Arts stepped into the world of Marina Abramović. They experienced first hand the visceral practice of performance art by taking part in a live performance to mark the opening of Abramović's latest exhibition–Private Archeology.
The exhibition at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is timed to coincide with Tasmania's mid winter festival, Dark MOFO. It showcases work from the internationally acclaimed artist's 40-year career.
After studying the career of Abramović in theory, the opportunity to be part of one of her performances was surreal and exhilarating for the students.
Student Tiarni Chantel Cane said that Marina Abramović is to the art world like Roger Federer is to the tennis world.
"She is the biggest... she is the most cutting edge. She has pushed all the boundaries and paved the path for contemporary artists of today. She is on the pedestal that all performing artists are trying to get to. I'm so lucky to be here. To experience the world of performance art, with someone like Marina, for Dark Mofo, it's incredible. It is something that I will always remember and reflect on in my future work."
This once in a career opportunity saw the three students step into Abramović's shoes and experience for themselves life as a performing artist and a celebrity.
University of Tasmania Theatre students performing in Marina Abramović's exhibition.
Photo: Simon Brook
MONA Co-Director and Curator Nicole Durling described Abramović as the pinnacle of success for performing artists.
"Her work pushes boundaries to the extremes–of art, the physical body and the mental self. In one performance she and her partner screamed at each other for 90 minutes until they ran out of energy. In another she sat quietly on a chair for eight hours," said Durling.
The students spent a day with the artist during the installation of the exhibition before becoming part of the work for four media events. The students will also perform for four hours the live launch event tonight.
Marina Abramović - Private Archaeology will run 13 June to 5 October 2015 at the Museum of Old and New Art.