Galeria Horrach Moya
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Nota de Prensa

Marina Abramović
The Freeing Series

Galería Horrach Moyà Sadrassana
Plaça de la Drassana 15 - 07012 Palma de Mallorca.

On 16 May, artist Marina Abramović will be present at Galería Horrach Moyà to celebrate the opening of The Freeing Series, an exhibition showing 3 video works recording Abramović’s historical performances from 1975: Freeing the Memory, Freeing the Body, and Freeing the Voice. With a minimal approach, they will be projected each in its own room, on both floors of the gallery. Through their personal and political significance, these are works of immense importance for the artist and the unfolding of her career. Abramović performs three simple actions: reciting all the words she can remember until her mind goes blank, dancing for hours until she collapses in exhaustion, and screaming until she loses her voice. Through these actions the artist manages to empty her mind and her body of every trace of energy until there is nothing else but void, but a positive emptiness. These artworks represented a cry for freedom that strove to overcome the physical boundaries drawn between countries and transform the mind and body into a realm free from all restrictions – a power they continue to hold into the present in these uncertain times.
Ex-Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramović is undoubtedly among the most influential figures of our time. For four decades she has been expanding the boundaries of art and has led the way in performance as a visual art form, a discipline that is all about the here and now, about energies between people, rather than physical art objects. She constantly experiments and explores the limits of her mental and physical resistance and that of her audience. Using her body as both subject and medium, she tests the relationship between the performer and the public, withstanding pain, exhaustion and danger in her quest for spiritual and emotional transformation. She creates provocative works that arouse emotion in everyone who sees them.
Since the beginning of her career in the early 1970s (she was trained in painting at the Fine Arts Academy in Belgrade)¬, Abramović has redefined and promoted the practice of performance art. A vital member of the pioneering generation of performance artists (among them Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, and Chris Burden), Abramović, one of the defining artists of the radical performance, has transcended the provocative forms of her origins and created some of the best works of this genre. She is the only one still making important durational works.
The three historical performances from The Freeing Series (1975), recorded in the video works on show at the gallery, deal with the freeing and were the artist’s farewell to her homeland and to her past. Each part of the series allowed her to disconnect emotionally, mentally and spiritually from her life in Belgrade. Abramović produced these three works as a way of embracing her new life and her new relationship with Ulay, who was to become her professional collaborator and later her life partner. The process of reinventing the self always entails taking stock of who we have previously been. One must free oneself of one’s past and remove whatever obstacles may hinder us from assuming new challenges in life.
In Freeing the Memory, Abramović reels off all the words she can remember in Serbo-Croatian, along with an occasional word in English or Dutch, until she can’t think of any more. By reciting all the words stored in her memory, she attempts to free herself from the acquired language. After an hour and a half, she seems to have succeeded. The well of words has dried up, and the performance is over.
In Freeing the Body, the artist dances naked to a drum beat played by an African percussionist, at times fast and loud and others soft and slow. At the beginning, she has plenty of energy, shaking her hips vigorously and constantly moving her arms. Her entire body responds to the drum’s rhythm and intensity. Over the course of the hours the exhaustion sets in, she falls back on a monotonous dance until, in one final convulsive movement, she collapses onto the floor, completely exhausted. During the performance, Abramović head was covered by a black scarf, in this way the audience’s attention can be focused on her body, rather than to her personhood or personality. Due to this anonymity, her body becomes an abstraction. The desire to mentally enter another dimension by overstretching one’s physical limits has connections with rituals from primitive cultures.
The premise of Freeing the Voice is simple: screaming until the voice is lost. Laying on her back with her head tilted back, the artist produces an uninterrupted, wordless scream. At first it seems a cry for help, then becomes more introverted, and finally hysterical. Then her voice falters, turns to heavy breathing, and finally dies down. The body has been emptied; the mind follows. The voice seems to be breaking free from the body, filling the space independently. By putting her body to the test and exploring the relationship between mind and body, Abramović tries to rediscover with the experience of naturalness, spirituality and pure sensuality; those human experiences that we have lost to the predisposition of contemporary culture to materialism and technology.
Marina Abramović was born in 1946 in Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia. Since 1968 she has been publishing writings, taught, given lectures, and workshops. She has created drawings, conceptual works, and since 1973, performance art. She has also worked with sound, photography, video, sculpture and transitory objects for human and non-human use. The artist’s work has been exhibiting world-wide. From 1975 to 2005, she lived in Amsterdam, after which she moved to New York, where she currently lives and works.
From 1976 to 1988 she collaborated with the German artist Ulay, who was also her partner, making performances together examining relationships of duality (Relation Works). Before ending their relationship, they decided to make a spiritual journey. In 1988 they walked along the Great Wall of China, starting from the opposite ends and meeting in the middle to say a final farewell. Abramović returned to her solo career and travelled the world with her art. She participated in the Venice Biennale in 1997 with her work Balkan Baroque, receiving the Golden Lion for Best Artist. In 2010 she had her first major retrospective in the USA at the MoMA in New York, in which she performed her durational work The Artist is Present for more than 700 hours. In 2011 she acted in the play about her life, The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, directed by Robert Wilson. This year, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm held her first major retrospective in Europe, entitled The Cleaner, along with a new community event under the same title.
In 2010 Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) was founded as an interdisciplinary platform for education and experimentation, devoted to the promotion and presentation of performance art. MAI is also the home to Abramović Method, a series of exercises within a public participatory event joining people in an experience to connect with oneself and with each other.