September 24, 2018
Like in a house: just keep what you need and clean the past, the memory and destiny. (MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ, The Cleaner)
Florence, a few days ago. Waiting on the square in front of the Odeon cinema for the press conference on the first Italian retrospective dedicated to Marina Abramović: The Cleaner, on show at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence from 21 September 2018 to 20 January 2019.
The exhibition is curated by Arturo Galansino, Palazzo Strozzi Foundation, Lena Essling, Moderna Museet, with Tine Colstrup, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, and Susan Klein, Bundeskundsthalle.
The title, The Cleaner, refers to Marina’s reflection on his life, to a particular creative and existential moment, that is to the expression and to the meaningful act of “cleaning” keeping only what is needed and essential. We also think, by analogy, to the meanings of “getting naked” or “undress”. In the works on display, one finds and returns to relive – through objects, photographs and archival footage as well as live performances – what remains after this cleaning up.
The exhibition has an immersive character in both a thematic and chronological path that conforms to the three different environments of the palace space. Beginning with the descent into the underground of the Strozzina, whoever enters is immersed – literally – and relives an era and a precise atmosphere, seizing in first person the energy of those fervent Seventies (early works 1965-1975). On the first floor works with Ulay, the poignant and unsettling couple performances of The Lovers (with Ulay, 1976-1988), and those made solo after the meeting / goodbye with him, in China, on the Great Wall (1991 works) -2017). In the courtyard, Relation in Movement. The Van, the Citroën van where together they traveled and lived for about three years.
THE ANIMAL LIFE OF AN ARTIST: The artist should avoid falling in love with another artist, he recites three times this voice of the artist’s life poster, Art Vital, signed Marina Abramović and Ulay (sic!).
Marina Abramović is an artist who has performed for a lifetime.
She discovers the performance after having experimented with painting (in the Strozzina her early works, both pictorial and graphic). For her, performance is a form of living art based on time and to which one must be present in order to observe it and be able to stay, sometimes, even motionless. In this regard, she recalls the most mature, The Artist is Present, as the most difficult one, because it lasted three months and therefore became life. Today, time is fast, life is fast. Art, on the other hand, is slow … The place for this performance has not been chosen by chance. This is the MoMA in New York, a city that never sleeps, where people come and go continuously. In Marina’s work, art is – it comes to be – the slow progress of life’s time and presence.