There’s not a lot you can get for nothing these days in London. But if you go to the Serpentine Gallery from Wednesday June 11, you could experience the most unexpected encounter you’ll ever have in a gallery and it’s absolutely free. Every Tuesday-Sunday from 10am, performance artist Marina Abramović will be opening the gallery doors for her anticipated show ‘512 Hours’.
But even the Serbian artist, who’s worked with Lady Gaga and Jay Z, doesn’t know what her show, a durational performance piece, will involve. The New York-based artist explained at a press conference earlier today that although the gallery will be empty, she along with her choreographer Lynsey Peisinger and the gallery invigilators will be present in the gallery for eight hours a day, six days a week for the next two-and-a-half months, interacting directly with gallery visitors.
Deciding against another retrospective – ‘when you’re my age, you don’t have time to waste’ – Abramović wanted to do something she’d never done before. Only 160 visitors will be allowed in at a time and everyone will have to leave their personal belongings, including mobile phones, in lockers provided.
So what can you expect from the mysterious proposition of an art show that includes nothing, where Abramović’s main material will be the public? The artist gave us a taster by randomly picking people from the crowd and guiding them by the hand to different parts of the gallery, where she would face them towards the wall, briefly speak into their ear before leaving them there to pick another person.
During this short preview, all the selected people stood in the positions Marina left them in. It was an intense and intimate glimpse of this immaterial artwork that will no doubt divide art audiences.
So make sure you’re not too cynical to miss this once-in-a-lifetime art experience, to see one of the world’s most important living artists performing her most radical piece to date, right here in our fair capital.
Find out details of the exhibition as there are restrictions and due to limited capacity there will no doubt be queues!
By Freire Barnes