An Exchange of Trust: Marina Abramović at Sean Kelly Gallery

Marina Abramović is back in New York City, but this time, she won’t be seen. On her last visit, Abramović performed The Artist is Present (2010) for the blockbuster MoMA retrospective of the same name. For 736 hours and 30 minutes, Abramović sat immobile in MoMA’s atrium faced, one by one, by silent visitors. Most recently, she spent 512 hours at the Serpentine Gallery, guiding visitors through an empty space and occasionally presenting them with an everyday object.

The author cautiously moving through the space. Image courtesy of Generator by Marina Abramović.
The author cautiously moving through the space. Image courtesy of Generator by Marina Abramović.

Now, at Sean Kelly Gallery, Abramović’s Generator—a participatory work that focuses on “nothingness” and sensory deprivation—is on view (through December 6, 2014). Facilitators place blindfolds and noise-cancelling headphones on participants before leading them into the main gallery. Once inside, participants can move however they want (though told it is a “slow-moving” piece), touch whatever they want, and stay as long as they want. When ready to leave, the blindfolded raise their hands and a facilitator guides them out. Every movement is documented and presented on Tumblr; this aspect of the piece, however, only becomes apprehensible once outside the space, in front of a computer screen. During the exhibition’s run, Abramović will partake, too—unannounced and daily—but, of course, participants will not be aware of her presence.

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