Homage to Saint Therese
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In “The Kitchen,” time stands still, ceases to exist, appears here and now like an imperious necessity of creation, fruit of a sensory experiment that takes shape through the understanding. Marina Abramovic puts into practice the maxim of Roni Horn: “I do not want to make anything without being here. The creation of something takes me away from here. I want to manage to make being here enough in itself .” “The Kitchen” is a simple production; Marina Abramovic does not use an elaborate display of means, rather she works with the essential, inhabits the space, translating it and defining it —making it her own. Each photograph is a photogram of the performance of Marina Abramovic´ inside this immense kitchen which fed, first, young orphans, then young pupils, children from a very concrete period in history, meteorite children, children of pain, children of sperm, children of language and of dreams. Children whom they cure with magical recipes: “breakfast with a glass of liquid gold. Lunch with fresh fig; dinner with a glass of liquid silver.”
The photographs of “The Kitchen” remind me of Japanese writing in that they allow us to see art and work; they reach, from their place of simplicity, the deepest recesses of the soul of the spectator. They are photos shot through with silence and immensity. The emotion does not flood, nor submerge; it is meant to be read, the effect of distance traps us with its sensitive abstraction. In the photographs of “The Kitchen” there are no lies; we perceive a certain departure from all that is trivial; we are the onlookers gazing at fragility, and at discretion. The body is a glorious body that is presented with clarity, agility, subtlety —an appealing body.
Generally in the West we transform every artistic impression into a description; on the contrary, in “The Kitchen” we find ourselves before fact, the apprehension of the moment. Marina Abramovic offers us the possibility of contemplating pure fragments, moments of certainty. Once more her body, in conjunction with the space she occupies, forms what she calls her “field of representation.”
Born in 1946 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, Marina Abramovic is without question one of the seminal artists of our time. Since the beginning of her career in Yugoslavia during the early 1970s, where she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Abramovic has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. The body has always been both her subject and medium. Exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in the quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. Abramovic’s concern is to create works that ritualize the simple actions of everyday life like lying, sitting, dreaming, and thinking; in effect the manifestation of a unique mental state. As a vital member of the generation of pioneering performance artists that includes Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, and Chris Burden, Abramovic´ created some of the most historic early performance pieces and is the only one still making important durational works.