Overlapping Memories



Text by Gustavo Bonfiglioli
Photographs by Victor Takayama, Victor Nomoto and Hick Duarte
Wednesday, April 1 - 2015

We have entered the fourth week of Terra Comunal - MAI. SESC Pompeia estimates that fifty thousand people have already visited the exhibition in the past 21 days, six thousand of whom incorporated the Abramovic Method into their experience. In addition to the eight long durational performance artists who make up the MAI Presents program, other special events this week include three lectures, two one-time performances, and two workshops.

Highlights from this past week include Marina Abramovic's second lecture on performance art; the second Serão Performático presented by Grupo EmpreZa as part of their larger work, Vesuvius; and two workshops for a pre-selected group of Brazilian artists led by Abramovic and collaborator Lynsey Peisinger. Here is a daily recap:

#1 Tue, March 24

Ongoing activities and long durational performances by Paula Garcia (Crumbling Body), Rubiane Maia (The Garden), Maurício Ianês (The Bond), Fernando Ribeiro (The Typewriter), and Grupo EmpreZa (Vesuvius).

#2 Wed, March 25

Grupo EmpreZa’s ten-member collective spends the day, from 1pm to 9pm BRT, presenting a new Serão Performático. This is the second of six parts in a larger performance project titled Vesuvius. It could be said that the first Serão used blood as a medium with such emphasis that it became the main character in the performance. This time, it is dust, be it from brick or bone, that serves as a protagonist.

From 1pm to 6pm BRT, the performance consists of just one scene: a member of EmpreZa continuously pounds bricks using a mortar and pestle made from a tree trunk, while others, completely covered in red dust, crawl on the ground blowing the brick powder into the air without pause. The atmosphere is so saturated with this dust that visitors must wear surgical masks during the performance.

After a ritual purification of the area at 6pm BRT, other performances begin within the Serão: a woman cleans and then destroys a bull’s skull; a man bashes his head over 100 times into the skull of another bull; two men transport handfuls of bone dust back and forth from one pile to another; two more men fight naked in the field of red dust. The audience spontaneously helps Grupo EmpreZa to complete the performance. Read more about this Serão here: http://www.mai-hudson.org/terra-comunal-content/2015/3/26/dusty-cycles

The next four Serões are scheduled for April 7, 17, 29, and May 10.

#3 Thu, March 26

From 8pm to 10pm BRT, Marina Abramovic delivers her second lecture on performance art. She begins by showing video performances that focus on arms and hands as mediums. She then proceeds to introduce the topic of physical limits. Pain, ancient rituals, and physical and mental boundaries are discussed during the screening. This selection of videos includes some that Abramovic made with Ulay, works by the Brazilian artists chosen for MAI Presents, and others. Later, she opens the lecture for questions from the audience. More details about the lecture here: http://www.mai-hudson.org/terra-comunal-content/2015/3/27/second-lecture-highlights

Abramovic’s remaining six lectures will take place from 8pm to 10pm - BRT today (April 1), tomorrow (April 2) and on April 8, 15, 22, and 30.

#4 Fri and Sat, March 27 & 28

At the “In Between” space, the weekend is dedicated to two sessions of a workshop on performance led by Marina Abramovic for a group of young Brazilian performance artists. Ten pre-selected performers are invited to present their work in front of an audience. Each presentation is followed by questions and critiques, after which Abramovic then gives her final input.

At the end of each workshop, a collective experiment is lead by Abramovic using objects that the artists and audience are asked to bring with them. The experiment serves as a way to inspire new ideas and offer a unique perspective on these works in progress.  

Selected artists: Felipe Bittencourt, Gabriel Brito Nunes, Marco Biglia, Tathy Yazigi, Flávia Paiva, Luciana Shirakawa, Marina Matheus, Rafael Amambahy, Roberta Nascimento, Ana Behatriz.

Two additional sessions of this workshop will be held at the “In Between” space in April, dates TBA.

Upcoming Special Events: Wednesday and Thursday, April 1 & 2, Marina Abramovic will lead two more lectures on performance art, from 8pm to 10pm - BRT. Saturday, April 4, Andrea Boller re-performs Abramovic's Freeing the Memory from 5pm to 9pm - BRT.

Check our calendar for more dates and times.

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