"With this project I am scared, I feel the absolute panic. I do not know what I will do, how I will do it. Today, at three in the morning, I woke up in a chair. My God, I thought, I will fail! I took a breath. Fine, let me fail! But if I succeed? Does performance in the 21st century finally begin or arise from "nothing"? If the material is only the spectator and the performer? Marina Abramovich is standing in front of me, dressed in her favorite black "outfit" (black shirt and pants, white shirt, black men's sneakers). I am in the space of the performance "512 Hours" at the Serpentine Gallery, one day before its official presentation, invited by the Art Professionals In Athens Residency of Gerasimos Kappatos, Sozita Gudouna and the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI). My interlocutor's speech is torrent, direct: "So far all my work, my every move was perfectly organized. There is nothing here. Only me and you. And the energy between us. "And we have to let go, trust each other and see what comes out of it."
In her new "experiment", as she calls it, Marina Abramovich will be at the London Gallery from 10.00 to 18.00, 6 days a week, a total of 64 days and 512 hours (from June 11 to August 25 ). And we, after three quarters in the queue, will finally see for ourselves what will emerge from this new bet. As soon as we arrive at the entrance, our employee seals the wrist of his left hand with the title of the performance ("512 Hours") and the date of arrival. In the reception area, in special lockers, we will leave our personal belongings and enter the building "free from technological burdens and expectations of immortalizing an event that has not yet happened", as the 68-year-old artist had stressed the day before at our meeting.
Entering the first white room of the gallery, I see Bianca Jagger, Mick Jagger's ex-wife, a fanatical artist and collector of contemporary art, coming out. Nick Rhodes, Duran Duran's boardman, is already roaming the area. Abramovich and her "assistants", as she calls them, have been chosen by a spectator, have intertwined their fingers and are proceeding with the same step coordination in different directions. It's my turn. Marina Abramovich takes me by the hand and leads me in front of a white wall, between two other spectators who are already standing there. "Stay here. Do not talk. Do what you feel ". These are her instructions. I look furtively at the girl on my right. He has approached the wall and is praying. The power of self-submission is great, I think. The situation is rather awkward at first. I do not know what to do and I start experimenting with my vision in relation to the proximity of the white surface in front of me. My presbyopic eyes receive strange stimuli. When I get too close to the white surface and stay steady, I almost trance. I walk away and turn to see what is happening behind me, in space. Some spectators watch us turn on the wall, others continue to be led by the artist and her assistants to new places.
Everyone stays as long as they want. And he can repeat the experience as many times as he wants, every day something different happens (the next day, as I learned, there were paints on the walls and folding beds in the center of the room). I enjoyed with her for three hours. Also, the experience is free. "Because the essence of art has nothing to do with money. "Only with the availability of the artist and the spectator", as Marina Abramovic observes.