Abramovic Opens Givenchy Flagship

NEW YORK CITY -- The art world celebrity and performance artist Marina Abramović is to collaborate with French fashion house Givenchy and its creative director, Riccardo Tisci, on his upcoming spring New York fashion show.

Art collectors of Art Kabinett social media network anticipate an amazing presentation from these two creative personalities.

The show will unveil this autumn, when the company will open its 5,000 square-foot flagship store in Manhattan's Upper East Side, at 747 Madison avenue. The location has been home to several other high-end fashion houses including Valentino and Alexander McQueen.

The move from showing the collection in Paris to New York comes at a significant time for the LVMH-owned fashion house.

A 2012 documentary directed by Matthew Akers about the artist's retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art featured a scene of Abramović with Tisci, depicted here, at the fashion house's haute couture offices. It was there, at Givenchy, where the artist explained how she rose from the ashes of an affair with fellow performance artist, Ulay, to begin as a solo artist.

Ulay Affair

Thirty years ago Marina was involved in an intense love affair with an artist named Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen).

They lived in a van together doing performances. When they decided to separate, they each walked the 5,000-kilometer length of the Great Wall of China, meeting in the middle. They embraced one last time, then turned around and never saw each other again.

Originally, the Great Wall Walk was supposed to culminate in a wedding, but Ulay had begun an affair with their Chinese translator and, when she became pregnant, their fruitful collaboration came to an end

“I was 40, fat, ugly and unwanted,” recalls Abramovic. “I’d lost my love and I’d lost my work.”

So she went shopping: “I had a pedicure, a manicure and bought my first designer clothes. Since then, I love fashion!” She also relaunched her career as a solo artist, continuing to test her capacity for endurance in ever more theatrical performances that gained her an international reputation and the epithet “grandmother of performance art”.

In September 2013, Marina performed her latest piece at the MoMA, sitting opposite a stranger for a minute. Ulay showed up as a stranger. Marina had no idea he was there, and it wasn’t until she lifted her head expecting to see a random face, who in fact was Ulay.

The powerful emotion that came over her was incredible. Ulay left after the minute was up and she was barely able to carry on the performance.

The Givenchy show will be a bit less melodramatic. It is set to debut on September 11 and will be art-directed by Abramović.

In anticipation of the event, Riccardo Tisci has stated, "It's a delicate day for America, and so the show is going to be a celebration of family and love." The designer, who as a teenager was an avid collector of American flags, often pays homage to Americana and popular US styles in his collections.

Although Tisci disclosed that he would be working with Abramović, he did not go on to reveal the details of the artist's full involvement. "She's going to help me to art direct the show. It's going to be very interesting," he said.