Marina Abramovic Stood Still For 6 Hours,While The Audience Was Invited To Do To Her Whatever They Wished

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Rhythm 0 (1974) was a six-hour work of performance art by Yugoslav artist Marina Abramović in Studio Morra, Naples.The work involved Abramović standing still while the audience was invited to do to her whatever they wished, using one of 72 objects she had placed on a table.

image credit: Marina Abramovic Institute

These included a rose, feather, perfume, honey, bread, grapes, wine, scissors, a scalpel, nails, a metal bar, and a gun loaded with one bullet.

image credit: Marina Abramovic Institute

There was no separate stage. Abramović and the visitors stood in the same space, making it clear that the latter were part of the work.

image credit: Marina Abramovic Institute

The purpose of the piece, she said, was to find out how far the public would go: “What is the public about and what are they going to do in this kind of situation?”Her instructions were placed on the table:

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As Abramović described it later: “What I learned was that… if you leave it up to the audience, they can kill you.” … “I felt really violated: they cut up my clothes, stuck rose thorns in my stomach, one person aimed the gun at my head, and another took it away.

image credit: Marina Abramovic Institute

It created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I stood up and started walking toward the audience. Everyone ran away, to escape an actual confrontation.

When the gallery announced the work was over, and Abramović began to move again, she said the audience left, unable to face her as a person.