Worlds collided last Friday when students from ICE’s project with Auburn Girls High met international art superstar and the ‘grandmother of performance art’, Marina Abramović. Before heading into the exhibition our group was led upstairs and without any fanfare one of the staff nodded to a lone figure sitting at a large wooden table. ‘Meet Marina.’
Having just opened the exhibition days before Marina Abramović generously spent five minutes talking to the girls giving them the rundown on how to best approach her work. Her main piece of advice – look people straight in the eyes – not your friends, strangers.
After Marina left, residency artist Frances Barrett gave us a crash course in performance art. Frances also told us a little bit of what it’s like to be a contemporary artist and showed us the purpose built sleeping quarters for the artists in residence, complete with electric blankets for the ice cold Pier 2/3!
We were then joined by curator Sophie O’Brien, who curated the Marina Abramović: 512 Hours show at the Serpentine Gallery in London last year. She gave us a bit of background on Marina and the exhibition, preparing us as best she could on what to expect – think transformative and challenging.
Leaving our phones and watches at the entrance we entered the exhibition to get in touch with our inner selves – staring, counting rice and walking slowly through the space.
The chance encounter was put in motion by artists Marian Abboud and George Tillianakis, who work with ICE and Auburn Girls High on the project, pulling strings to organise the visit to Pier 2/3.
Stay tuned for the upcoming review of Marina Abramović In Residence from the ladies at Auburn Girls!
All photos by Marian Abboud, George Tillianakis and Jonathan Wilson.