"Italy, I love you. And my heart is with you." These were the moving words from the leading performance artist Marina Abramovic in a video message about coronavirus (Covid-19). She added that "the Italian people are showing great courage, great feeling for community and humanity" as she held her hand to her heart in a symbol of support. The video was posted as part of the Palazzo Strozzi's new digital project In Touch, which is offering additional online content for users while the Florence museum is closed due to the pandemic.
Abramovic was also keen to ruminate on a post-coronavirus world. "From the disasters we have to learn a lesson," she says. "What is really left is a very valuable experience that human consciousness should change, our approach to our world and our planet should change."
Italy has played a significant role in Abramovics life and art. Many of the artist's early performances in the 1970s took place in Italy and were received with international acclaim. Rhythm 0 (1974) was a six-hour work at Studio Morra in Naples where Abramovic stood still while the audience was allowed to do anything they wanted to her using one of 72 objects on a table, including a loaded gun. In 1977, she performed the work Imponderabilia with her then-partner Ulay where they both stood naked at the entrance of the Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna in Bologna, forcing visitors to squeeze past them to enter. In 2018, Palazzo Strozzi presented Italys first retrospective devoted to Abramovic's work, emphasising the way that Italy had influenced the artist.
Abramovic's poster sparked controversy in 2018 in light of Italy's hard-line stance against migrant rescue ships
But Abramovic has also sparked controversy in Italy. After a book signing at the opening of her Palazzo Strozzi show, an amateur artist hit the artist over the head with a painting on paper he had made of her that was framed but without glass. Arturo Galansino, Palazzo Strozzis director and the curator of the exhibition Marina Abramovic: the Cleaner, expressed “sadness that such an important exhibition for Italy should be marred by the actions of one individual”. Earlier in 2018, Abramovic also Read More – Source