On Tuesday, November 25, Marina Abramović will yet again be present at a MoMA-related event, but this time the occasion is an in-store signing at the MoMA Design Store, Soho. The artist has designed a limited-edition silk scarf (shown above) in collaboration with the fashion company Pineda Covalin, and she will be on hand to sign scarves and copies of her 2010 MoMA exhibition catalogue, Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present.
Just a few blocks away, the artist’s current installation, Generator, is on view at the Sean Kelly Gallery. Her first solo exhibition in New York since her MoMA retrospective, Generator focuses on sensory deprivation and the experience of “nothingness.” The main gallery has been transformed into a blank space where visitors don noise-canceling headphones and blindfolds to help them enter an uninterrupted, quiet physical and mental state. (Check out images of the installation.)
We were lucky enough to catch up with Marina Abramović to chat about Generator, being inspired by Frida Kahlo, and her favorite scarf.
What is the most interesting thing you have experienced so far in Generator?
The most interesting to me is of course the reactions of people; the experience they generate themselves when getting into the space blindfolded and coming out very emotionally charged. It’s important to me that Generator is functioning independently of me, and allowing each person to have their own personal experience.
In your work The Artist Is Present, looking and seeing was a big part of participants’ experience. Why did you choose to blindfold them for Generator?
In my work I’m always trying to explore new territories without repeating myself. It’s a natural evolution. The Artist Is Present, 512 Hours (in London), and Generator all focus on different senses.
Could you describe your own performance in Generator? Are you always present and watching?
I’m not always present. I would say that I go to Generator for my own experience too, and not to try to control or direct people’s participation. The anonymity of the piece applies to myself as well.
Why did you choose Portrait with Scorpion (Closed Eyes) (2005) as the image for the scarf?
I was truly inspired by Frida Kahlo and her Self-Portrait with Monkeys, [which was] featured on a Pineda Covalin scarf.
Do you wear scarves? If so, could you please describe your favorite one?
I wear only one scarf. It’s a large cashmere scarf; so big that it looks like a blanket. When I travel, this big scarf is irreplaceable because it fulfills and serves so many purposes. I sleep with it and I cover myself with it, but I also use it as a coat. When I have this scarf on my body I feel I’m home.
Proceeds from the purchase of the scarf will support The Museum of Modern Art and Marina Abramović Institute (MAI). A platform for immaterial art and long durational works, including those of performance art, dance, theater, film, music, opera, science, nature, technology, and undiscovered forms that may develop in the future, MAI is an incubator for collaboration among emerging and established individuals working in these fields. The MoMA Design Store, Soho, is located in Manhattan at 81 Spring Street, between Crosby and Broadway.