Artist Research

Rhythm 0 | Marina Abramović

Between 1973-1974, Abramović performed five pieces in which she tested the mental and physical limitations of her own body. This series of performances, called “Rhythms,” represent Abramović’s turn away from more traditional media of painting or drawing, to instead focus on the use of her own body as art. Today I will be looking at Rhythm 0.

In 1974, Abramovic exhibited Rhythm 0. Abramović had a long table in front of her made up of 72 items spread out with a white tablecloth. The items on the table included a gun and bullet, roses, lipstick, an axe, an apple, and perfume, to name a few.

Alongside, laid instructions which explained ‘There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me… I am the object. During this period, I take full responsibility’

For six hours, Abramovic subjected herself to the visitors, which allowed the public to do as they pleased to her.

Abramović said that at first visitors were peaceful and shy, but quickly became violent: ′′The experience I learned was that… if you leave the decision to the public, you might be killed… I felt very violated. They cut my clothes, put rose thorns in my belly, one person pointed the gun at my head, and another pulled the gun out close. This created an aggressive atmosphere. After exactly 6 hours, as planned, I got up and started walking towards the public. Everyone ran away, escaping from a real confrontation.“

The impact this exhibition and meaning had and still has to this day is so influential on the art scene in today’s society. Exploring the capacity of a human to embody the mental processes of conceptual art. The significance of Rhythm 0 represented and influenced artwork today showing how the body is used to reveal hidden meanings and trauma is presented as a form of sculptural language.

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