Perform, Repeat, Record – Becky Deihl

Marina Abramović has an interesting relationship with performance art. Not only does she have her own pieces she has created and performed, but she reperforms other artists’ performances. In traditional artforms, it’s commonplace to recreated past works, creating artists copies. I never thought about recreating performance art though. It’s much more temporal and if I wasn’t there for the original, I wouldn’t expect to see it ever performed.

Throughout the reading, Jones and Abramović discuss the recreation process, how it was difficult to get clear instructions and permission. The instructions were important so Abramović could perform these pieces as close to original as possible. It was just as important to get permission to perform the pieces, a thought that never crossed my mind. It goes beyond the artist copy though, since she was working the performances into her own new piece. On page 551, she describes how she was only given permission to perform one part of Gina Pane’s performance, affecting the relationship between the original and the recreation. The idea of permission changes the piece dramatically, because some pieces can be shortened like Pane’s piece, or not approved of whatsoever like Chris Burden’s piece, which in turn effects Abramović’s new recreation piece.

Along with her recreation of the pieces, Abramović takes future recreation of her pieces very seriously. On page 562, she explains how she’s training young performance artists on how to perform her pieces, leaving clear instructions and making sure they perform properly. It’s in reaction to the few instructions she could find with some of the pieces she used for Seven Easy Pieces. It’s a whole new kind of curation in a way, just to make sure the piece lives on properly without traditional documentation.

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