Lisson Gallery

Marina Abramović: Seven Deaths

London, 14 September – 17 October 2021

Marina Abramović opens two shows in central London this autumn (this one in Cork Street and another in Lisson Street), presenting the culmination of her lifelong passion and empathy for the talented and tragic figure of singer Maria Callas (1923-1977). Abramović has created Seven Deaths, a new, immersive cinematic experience for the main gallery at Lisson Street, based on seven untimely demises she undergoes on screen, set to the moving soundtrack of seven Callas solos. Each aria is accompanied by the protagonist’s grisly end, albeit adding a new twist or some fresh interpretation in each case.  In Cork Street, Abramović exhibits seven alabaster sculptures relating to these lethal vignettes, which are also self-portraits of the artist inhabiting different personae – herself, Callas, the jilted bride or the sacrificial paramour, among others – each facing their own emotional, operatic endings.

Every dramatic killing is transmitted through the imagery encapsulated in an ethereal alabaster portrait, the photo-realistic features of which seem to dissolve into abstract peaks and troughs upon closer inspection. “The results are amazing because you have this feeling that you can touch it, you can feel the skin of the snake, you have this tactile sense. And then everything disappears in nothingness when you have a close view of the pieces.” They are in fact intricately milled from single, natural blocks of stone, the light suffusing the translucent interiors with distinct, internal, performative lives of their own. 

Just as the film merges seamlessly with the live-action opera as projections, so the sculptures too become part of the Seven Deaths as a total work of art, traversing through screen to stone, performance and song. “We tried many different things and finally, we ended up using alabaster because it has rigidity, but also transparency – it both keeps the light within and can be illuminated by light.”

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Works on view

 

Callas was my inspiration… I felt such a powerful identification with her. Like me, she was a Sagittarius; like me, she had a terrible mother. We bore a physical similarity to each other. And though I had survived heartbreak, she died from a broken heart. In most operas, at the end, the heroine dies from love.

Marina Abramović: Seven Deaths

Installation views

Marina Abramović: Seven Deaths artwork
Marina Abramović: Seven Deaths artwork
Marina Abramović: Seven Deaths artwork
Marina Abramović: Seven Deaths artwork

More information

Location

22 Cork Street
London

Opening Times:
Tuesday – Saturday: 11:00am – 6:00pm

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