September 2 2014

styledotcom Would you let your kids draw on your @Versace wedding gown? Angelina did. Commence: awws.

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1 posts tagged "Bob Wilson"

Marina Abramović On Her Own Life—And Death


It takes a particular kind of person to stage not only their life, but also their death. But performance artist Marina Abramović is that special kind. She had already created her biography twice—first staged by herself, ten years ago, then by theater director Michael Laub—but for the third iteration of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, the artist put herself entirely in the hands of another artist: avant-garde legend Bob Wilson. Wilson accepted, and his The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic debuted in Manchester last year. To add yet another level of scrutiny to the process, Wilson invited photographer Tim Hailand to photograph a day in the creation of the piece, now published as One Day in the Life of Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic. The piece had grown to include an original score, performed by musician Antony of Antony and the Johnsons, and starred Abramović herself along with Antony and Willem Dafoe. Last night, Abramović’s longtime friend Ennio Capasa of Costume National hosted a party for the book and introduced a related film installation by Giada Colagrande. To celebrate the occasions, spoke with Abramović about the process.

Tell me a little bit about the creation of The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic. How did you and Bob Wilson come together? Had you collaborated in the past? How did you work together?
I met Bob Wilson for the first time in 1971 in Belgrade. At that moment, I didn’t meet him personally but saw his play. It left a very strong impression on me. During the late seventies, I met him personally and we became friends. For me, Bob Wilson invented a new language of theater, introducing a new sense of time, and this is very connected to my work. When I was having the idea of making The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, I asked him to direct it. He was the only person I had in mind. Working together was an exercise in giving up control. I gave him all of my material and just became a tool for him to work with.

And Antony?
Antony, I met six years ago when I saw him sing at Rufus Wainwright’s Carnegie Hall Christmas concert. It was a mesmerizing experience, and he was the only person I wanted to create the new music for this piece.

Were there moments from your own life that you particularly wanted to revisit for the performance? Any that you considered but chose not to?
No, it was all Bob’s choice and all his editing.

How does fashion play a role in your performances?
Fashion plays a big part of my private life, not at all in my performance. I don’t use designer clothes for my work—I make them myself, or they’re just very simple. In my private life it’s different.

I’ve heard that you recently purchased a house in New York with Riccardo Tisci. Is this correct? Will you both be spending more time in the city? Will you be collaborating at any point in the future?
I don’t want to speak about Riccardo’s plans without his permission, but he is a close friend, and we have already collaborated on a piece together in Visionaire, called “The Contract.” I think we will continue to inspire one another creatively far into the future.

Photo: Courtesy of Tim Hailand, One Day in the Life of Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, 2012