Exhibition The Cleaner is the first major European retrospective by Marina Abramović, designed in close collaboration with the artist. It was premiered in 2017 at the Modern Museum (Stockholm, Sweden) and then travelled to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Humlebek, Denmark), Henie Onstad Kunstsenter (Oslo, Norway), Bundeskunsthale (Bonn, Germany), the Palazzo Strozzi Foundation Florence, Italy) and Center for Contemporary Art (Torun, Poland).
The exhibition in Belgrade’s Museum of Contemporary Art is the last stop on tour and has a special significance because it represents the artist’s return to the city of his birth where she started her career and where she last exhibited independently in 1975, at the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art.
The exhibition chronologically follows all the stages of the multifaceted 50-year career of the artist. Beginning from early, painting (1960-1969) and conceptual works (1970-1972), through solo performance (1973-1975) and working together with life partner Ulai (1976-1988), which is the period of gaining international affirmation, to solo career from 1991 to 2017, during which she built the status of one of the greatest artists of today. It contains more than 120 works and includes paintings, drawings, objects, photographs, sound works, video works, films, scenography, performances and archival material. The exhibition consists of anthological works of art of performance (Ritmovi, 1973-1974; Lips of Thomas, 1975; Relational Works, 1976-1977; Nightmare Transition, 1982-1986), as well as works that marked her recent opus (Balkan Baroque, 1997; Artist is present, 2010).
Within the exhibition, the artist will hold a public lecture and a master class for young artists.
The accompanying program includes screenings of films about Marina Abramović, lectures on the art of performance and public guiding.
Marina Abramović (born in Belgrade, Serbia 1946) is one of the greatest performing artists and the only one from the generation of radical performers of the seventies who still deals with the art of performance. Throughout his career, Abramović constantly shifted the performance boundaries by testing in various forms and genres, such as body art, relational performance, long-lasting performance, autobiographical performance, participatory performance, reperformance. Its performance uncompromisingly tests the limits of physical and psychic endurance of the body, social stereotypes and taboos, cultural and gender identities, exerting a strong affective effect on the audience. They represent complex meaning structures that rest on the interweaving of concrete and symbolic, material and spiritual, physical and mental, intimate and public, repetition and change, current and virtual.
Abramović’s performance is an art of transformation that takes place through the exchange of energy between the performer and the audience. It is the art of “cleansing” that can radically change the experience of self, others and the community, as well as the attitude towards life itself. Her opus testifies to a constant search for the methods and techniques of releasing the energy of people, objects and actions.