Legendary international conceptual artist Marina Abramović and the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) have chosen eight artists – Dr Christian Thompson, Collective Absentia, Indigo Perry, Li Binyuan, Melati Suryodarmo, Mike Parr, SJ Norman and Yingmei Duan – to engage in site-specific, long-durational work during the 2024 Adelaide Festival, from 1 – 4 March.
The ninth work on display will be a video installation by Marina, introducing the project and guiding visitors through exercises from the Abramović Method.
In 1979, I visited Australia to participate as part of the European dialogue at the first Sydney Biennale. A year later, Ulay and I received a grant from the Australian Arts Council. We used this grant for research and to travel in central Australian deserts, and visit Aboriginal tribes in this area. These visits not only influenced my way of thinking and approach to performance art but also changed my view of the world.
I am so grateful to Adelaide Festival for inviting Marina Abramović Institute and supporting this presentation of long durational performance, in the context of its historically multidisciplinary, diverse, and vibrant programming.
It is a highlight for us to present a new work by Mike Parr, an internationally recognized pioneer, who began to create long durational works on art in the 70’s, alongside Christian Thompson and SJ Norman, who I met on my last trip to Australia in 2015.
The writer Indigo Perry will document the project in a writing performance. We are looking forward to bringing four international artists from Asia: Li Binyuan, Yingmei Duan, Melati Suryodarmo and Collective Absentia.”
Artistic Director of Adelaide Festival Ruth Mackenzie CBE:
It is an honour to have my heroes Marina and the MAI make their Adelaide Festival debut in 2024. It has been an inspiration to work with the MAI team on this historic show and I am so excited to see everyone’s work in our venues.
In alphabetical order by first name, the chosen artists are:
Dr Christian Thomson AO: Wait in gold (New work) Artist statement:
Wait in gold is a durational performance inspired in part by the work of my late supervisor Professor Brian Catling RA at the University of Oxford. A performance of Brian’s has always stayed with me, a work titled ‘Mr Rapehead’ 2010 at the ICA in London, in which Catling covers his head In flashing lights, personal security alarms until his head becomes a flashing light / Cyclops in the darkness manipulating spaces by interrogating them with threats of violence and humour.
Wait in Gold embraces a similar transformative and interrogative principle as homage. Much of my own work comes through a process of auto ethnography, connecting my own experience to larger, social, cultural and political meanings and understandings. In light of the recent referendum outcome I have been thinking a lot about this idea of voice or being denied a voice.
Expanding upon my oeuvre and the floral motif present throughout my practice Wait in Gold makes reference to these ideas of visibility and invisibility, being seen and not seen, the burden of colonisation has been placed on us to weigh us down. In this work I slowly pin tiny gold flowers to myself as I transform from human figure into an opulent flower form, unifying man with nature and First Nations people with the enduring connection to our lands, recoiling into the safety of our country as the oldest continuing culture on earth.
Collective Absentia: Our Glorious Past Our Glorious Present Our Glorious Future: Our Glorious Spring
Our Glorious Past Our Glorious Present Our Glorious Future is an ongoing performance by Collective Absentia. Conceived and developed around 2011, the performance mainly involves a series of durational works performed at different sites inside and outside Myanmar.
Our Glorious Past Our Glorious Present Our Glorious Future: Our Glorious Spring is a durational performance that aims to meditate on the agency and potency of non-violence actions as a form of resistance.
In so doing, the performance attempts to explore the history of political violence in Burma/Myanmar from its precolonial time to the present day without replicating and/or glorifying any form of explicit violent actions committed by both the oppressors and the oppressed or portrayed in the media or by the art community. This performance is dedicated to the ungrievable deaths due to the ongoing political violence in Burma/Myanmar since 1948.
– Indigo Perry: I will write you out of water Artist statement:
As I remember it, her body turns to metal. The front of her torso is a carapace, black and thunderhead-grey with bursts of sun-bronze. Moving parts clank when she runs. Keys rise and fall. Hammers pound text into the air. A streetlight figures her passing body in the way of a camera flash or a flare of lightning. Then, she flies. In the silver of the downpour, she strobes for a micro-second before she breaks that rain-pebbled surface and goes under.
This work began in Amsterdam at the Royal Theatre Carré, the site of a grand circus in the 1700s. Now the story flows on at Adelaide Festival. There is a missing woman who was seen to disappear on the last night of the show in Amsterdam.
The writer-performer quietly searches for the missing woman as she roams all the spaces of the MAI Takeover, observing, conversing, asking questions, making notes, writing her drafts. She is an interloper who might show herself anywhere. A ubiquitous presence, she gathers her material and writes her ongoing story of loss, grief, tropes of water and drowning, and the deeply elongated swirls of mourning time.
– Li Binyuan: Breakdown Artist statement:
In the work of Breakdown, Li Binyuan climbs up a monument like pillar, standing on this nearly 4-meter-high pillar. Using the hammer in his hand, he slowly strikes and disintegrates the pillar under his feet, with almost no rest in between: during the continuous tapping process, his own body also gradually disintegrates and disappears with the brick pillar, slowly falling back to the ground.
Li Binyuan’s performance exudes qualities of epic poetry with the artist as a sole character. Throughout his works, his body is always presented alone, showing extreme fatigue after performing repetitive actions, and the body eventually fails and collapses before the unbreakable “reality.
This theme is allusive to the artist’s background in his studies as a sculptor where his body becomes the physical statue. The body, in fact, acts as a “material” that gets shaped by confrontations with the reality, and the invisible rules and regulations wrapped outside the body are forced to appear.
Note: Li Binyuan will only appear on Sat 2 Mar.
Marina Abramović (New work) Artist statement:
Marina Abramović presents a specially made video for visitors of the takeover. Visitors are guided through aspects of The Abramović Method, a participatory experience which is a synthesis of research and experience over the course of her 50-year career. It is an exploration of being present in both time and space, preparing the public to experience long durational work.
Note: This video work is prerecorded and Abramović will not appear in person.
Melati Suryodarmo: Amnesia Artist statement:
Amnesia transcends the boundaries as a profound and deeply personal exploration. Amnesia serves as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the fundamental right to self-determination. Through the enigmatic reconstruction of scattered memories, this performance art piece intimately engages with the personal histories of individuals, crafting an immersive environment that echoes the complexities of human relationships with the unspoken and neglected chapters of history.
Suryodarmo’s long durational performance confronts the fragmented remnants of human experience, offering a mysterious space for audiences to engage with the untold narratives and forgotten realities of the past. Amnesia stands as a poignant testament to the enduring power of memory and the deeply personal journey of piecing together the fragments of our shared history.”
Mike Parr: Portrait of Marina Abramović (New work) Artist statement:
Portrait of Marina Abramović is a continuation of a series of blind painting performances, which Mike Parr started to create in 2019. Parr’s blindness is self-imposed with the artist performing with his eyes closed from the moment of entering to the moment of exiting the performance. He will never see the work. Blind painting is an attempt at nothingness and creation and toward an ending and rebirth.
For 12 hours, Parr will paint 4 black squares and then 4 red squares over black squares followed again by black squares over red squares. He will repeat this alternating pattern working across a large-scale structure in the Space Theatre.
Note: Mike Parr will only appear on Fri 1 Mar, 12pm – midnight. His work will be visible on all other dates, but Parr will no longer be present.
SJ Norman: Ngiyawaygunhanha (New work) Artistic team: Devised by SJ Norman, in consultation with Dr Mark Temple, Performed by Eric Avery Artist statement:
For this newly commissioned work premiering at Adelaide Festival, Wiradjuri/Ngyiampaa artist SJ Norman has worked with Ngyiampaa/Yuin/Gumbangirr musician and composer Eric Avery to bring the DNA sequences of various Australian bird species into sonic life.
Norman and Avery worked with musician and Molecular Biologist Dr. Mark Temple, utilizing the system of DNA sonification he developed, to devise a series of spare musical compositions, the notes of each corresponding to the DNA annotations for each species.
Throughout the course of each day of the performance, Avery will play the scores, filling the space with the sound of each bird’s dreaming data, marking the progression of the day – from the kookaburra in the early morning, to the afternoon call of the Australian raven.
Yingmei Duan Further information coming soon – updates to be made online
This will be the latest global communal participatory project created by MAI, following London (2023), Amsterdam (2022), Istanbul (2020), Bangkok (2018), Kyiv (2017), Athens (2016) and São Paulo (2015).
Marina Abramović Institute (MAI) presents and supports performance art at a global scale. Through an artist-driven process, the institute maintains both a multidisciplinary approach to performance and a focus on long-durational work.
MAI aims to address the complexity of the present time to shift the awareness and consciousness of human beings through performance. It promotes interdisciplinary collaboration between practitioners of all disciplines, including art, science, technology, and spirituality.
In 2023, MAI opened its space in Karyes, Greece to support creative processes around performance art and generate collaborative thinking. The institute hosts Cleaning the House, a workshop developed by Abramović to reset the body and help understand one’s physical or mental limits. The workshops are open to public participants coming from any discipline.
Marina Abramović Institute is: Marina Abramović, Thanos Argyropoulos, Serge Le Borgne, Paula Garcia and Billy Zhao.
Marina Abramović Institute:
Takeover will occur from Fri 1 March – Mon 4 March at Adelaide Festival Centre’s Space Theatre and nearby venues, running from 11am – 10pm each day. Visitors are encouraged not only to observe but also to actively participate. Audience members can return over the over of the project to track the changes and surprises in the evolving, long-durational pieces.
Venue: Space Theatre
Date: 01- 04 Mar 2024
For more information click Here