Marina Abramović puts together The Artist Is Present, her powerful performance around the gaze, to support Ukraine

Marina Abramovic and Tehching Hsieh during the performance The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art. (New York, March 9, 2010.) Getty Images

In 2010, at Moma in New York, the Serbian artist’s long performance left its mark on the art world and beyond. Twelve years later, she returns to her chair and her wooden table to help the victims of the war in Ukraine.

In 2010, her performance at Moma in New York made an impression far beyond the art world. For almost three months, eight hours a day, sitting in a chair, Marina Abramović waited for strangers to sit opposite her. And meet his gaze for a minute. More than 1500 visitors had followed one another. Twelve years later, the Serbian artist decided to revive his performance entitled The Artist Is Present. In support of the victims of the war in Ukraine, it joins forces with the Sean Kelly gallery and the Artsy auction platform. The lot offered to bidders will be able to come and sit in front of her, during the exhibition devoted to her work, on April 16 in New York.

The auctions will end on March 25 at noon and only two matches are up for grabs: one for one person and the other for two people. These moments will be immortalized by Marco Anelli, who had photographed almost all the participants of The Artist Is Present in 2010. Bidders’ donations will go to Direct Relief, which has partnered with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health to provide medical aid and prepare to support refugees and war-affected people over the long term.

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“It really hurts”

In 2010, The Artist Is Present became Marina Abramović’s best-known work. Many celebrities, like Lou Reed, Jay-Z or Björk, had participated, with curiosity, in this performance. Spectators also remember this moving moment when her ex-companion, the artist Ulay, came to meet her. Surprised by this appearance, the Serbian artist ended in tears. His ties with Eastern Europe have always influenced his work. At 75, she seems personally affected by the conflict raging in Ukraine. “It really hurts. It hurts so much because war hurts in general,” she confides in an interview for the magazine W , of March 15. “Ukraine can be Syria, anywhere. When you make the work and you make the message for the art, you have to create something that is actually transcendent, that can be used in so many different ways, depending on the needs of society at the time. »