First Day



Photographs by Victor Nomoto and Victor Takayama
Tuesday, March 10 - 2015

Terra Comunal is officially open at SESC Pompeia, where Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI) is operating with all of its components for the first time. Upon entering the space, it's hard to tell whether who is a spectator and who is an artist. Visitors become part of an unspoken dialogue between durational performances adjacent to one another. 

Everyone is present.

THE ARRIVAL AREA: At the entrance to the exhibition, Brazilian performance artist Ayrson Heraclito's Transmutation of the Meat features 10 pairs of people, facing each other and making uninterrupted eye contact. They are wearing coats of dried meat, forming a human corridor. 

Ayrson is one of the eight Brazilian artists selected by Marina Abramovic, Lynsey Peisinger, and Paula Garcia for MAI Presents. His performance consists of taking a branding iron to the meat coats, one by one. Before and after branding the coats, he makes eye contact with each person for a few minutes. Ayrson's work delves into the subject of violence against the body by referencing a time in Brazil when plantation owners used to mark their property - cattle and slaves - by pressing heated metal shapes against their skin. Ayrson plans to mark 60 people before the end of Terra Comunal. His performance will take place during the exhibition's opening and closing events.

THE LIVING AREA: SESC Pompeia's 2,652 square-meter main area is split into two parts. A portion is  dedicated to Marina Abramovic's retrospective exhibition, curated by Jochen Voltz. This part includes Abramovic’s Transitory Objects, with which visitors are encouraged to interact; a series of performances documented on film; and rare archival material. Inside this main space, MAI also invites visitors to experience the Abramovic Method. 

It’s hard to miss the enormous transparent plastic ball with artist Maikon K inside. Alternating between stillness and a crawling motion, Maikon performs DNA of DAN, in which he spreads a mixture of gelatin and water on his naked body and remains immobile for hours until the fluid dries to a shell-like consistency. After that, the performer starts to slowly move, cracking and finally eating this membrane to enact a form of skin rejuvenation. He crawls inside the ball toward a visitor and gives them pieces of the membrane to eat.

The mezzanine is occupied by Rubiane Maia's The Garden. For the duration of Terra Comunal, the artist will plant bean seeds and nurture them until they sprout, burying her legs in the soil to create synergy with the natural environment she is building.

THE WAREHOUSE: Four artists and one performance collective occupy SESC Pompeia's warehouse at the Terra Comunal opening event. The space is divided in four quadrants. The first, called In Between, functions as the warehouse’s welcoming space with computers and books/catalogues about Marina Abramovic's work for research purposes. Terra Comunal’s series of talks also takes place in the In Between area. 

Artist Marco Paulo Rolla performs Fulfilling the Space, uses his accordion to engage with body activities that explore stillness and movement triggered by the sound or the silence of his instrument. At the opening event, Fernando Ribeiro’s The Typewriter described Rolla's work by writing and reporting his stream of consciousness in a portable typewriter. Ribeiro will continue this performance nonstop during the exhibition, in different places inside SESC.

There is space set aside as the semi-permanent residence of artist Maurício Ianês for the two-month run of Terra Comunal. He will live there continuously, even when SESC is closed, for his performance The Bond. This work crosses the boundaries of performance and living space in order to foster human relations, as Ianês interacts with visitors by day.

Another area of the warehouse is designed for Paula Garcia's Body Crumbling. She stands in a room, with magnetized walls and ceiling, and a large pile of heavy steel collected from a junkyard. For eight hours each day, she'll be throwing pieces of metal on the walls, pushing her body’s limits with intense labor. Subjective social forces and the relation between lightness and weight are intrinsic in Garcia's work.

Performance collective Grupo EmpreZa also occupies a quadrant inside the warehouse for their Vesuvius work. It consists of six Serões Performáticos that investigates artistic modes of production by creating high tension situations between the performers and audience. For this first Serão (a word in Portuguese that means "overtime work"), they gather around a generous banquet on a dining table in formal attire. Tied to one another by their hands, they wear gags which force their mouths open, prohibiting chewing, as they partake in the feast. 

Grupo EmpreZa's Vesuvius will be held on specific dates and times.

To see this and all of the other scheduled performances to happen at Terra Comunal, access the online calendar and join us:

Terra Comunal - MAI is free and open to the public until May 10, 2015 @SESC Pompeia, São Paulo - Brazil.