Abramovic Engages Visitors in Stark Silence
London -- Marina Abramović the Serbian born performance artist, reached the half-way mark of her residency at the Serpentine Gallery yesterday, at 6pm.
The artist now completes her 256th hour of performing with the public.
Art collectors of ArtKabinett social media network are visiting Marina Abramović at the Serpentine Gallery, as well as, the temporary architectural wonder of this year's Serpentine Pavilion.
To mark the occasion, the Serpentine will release a short series of brief diaries with some of the visitors giving a unique insight into one of the most talked about art events of the year.
Since its opening in June, 64,277 people have visited the exhibition, with up to 160 people allowed in at any one time.
Each day, Marina Abramović opens the Gallery doors and greets every visitor as they enter. Following the simple instructions they are given before entering, visitors divest themselves of their mobile phones, watches and baggage and enter into a white gallery bare of anything aside from Marina Abramović herself and ten gallery assistants.
With the artist herself saying “I don’t know what to expect,” nobody knew quite what form the performance would take over the coming weeks and months.
Some visitors come and go within 15 minutes but the majority stay for an average of two hours.
Many visitors dedicate whole days to the experience whilst others make regular return visits. Participants document their feedback through words and pictures displayed on a dedicated Tumblr.
Reactions range from feelings of bewilderment and cynicism to a sense of communion, calm, and elation.
One aspect of the show that has been widely remarked on is the rare opportunity afforded to do nothing and escape from a world mediated by electronic devices.
“I stayed the whole eight hours and it only felt like three,” said one regular visitor to the exhibition, while another commented “It helped me slow down. I tend to move fast. I enjoyed sharing the experience with others”.
Others said “There is something very humanizing and safe about being in a silent group” and “Watching other people as living sculptures was very interesting”.
Some responded less positively to the experience: “My vision of Hell” was one individual’s reaction while another asked “Why is there an unspoken understanding that silence is required for this exhibition?”
Through a daily video diary co-broadcast on these websites, Marina Abramović has offered small insights into the developments of the show.
In her first diary entry, Marina Abramović said, “Everything came so spontaneously – our decision how to start, how to develop the piece”.
In a later entry she said, “You start seeing differences and start noticing how the energy is expanding or shrinking”.
On Saturday, in addition to Marina Abramović’s regular daily diary, viewers of the Space got the opportunity to gauge how the participants themselves have experienced the performance through filmed testimonials.