If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Marina Abramović: Documenting performance

Marina Abramović talks about how performance art has to be live and can be re-performed by others. To learn more about what artists have to say, take our online course, Modern and Contemporary Art, 1945-1989. Created by The Museum of Modern Art.

Want to join the conversation?

Video transcript

- The performance for me makes sense if it's live. And doesn't make so much sense if it's documentation. Everything else would left over, like photograph or video, not the real thing. The real thing the audience have to be in the place what happen and to see that. So maybe the most documentation, which is valuable would be the memory of the audience and the actual story which they will tell to somebody else. And somehow all the artists in the '70s left just documentation and not any kind of (mumbles) and how this actually can turn into the kind of live process. Because some artists absolutely don't want to be re-perform the pieces because they felt that they done it in such a beautiful time that doesn't work later on. Another artist and critics will think that if there somebody else re-perform the piece, actually is not anymore the piece of the artist idea. It would be a new piece because he add his own personality inside. But I really think that it's very important to re-perform the pieces even with all this danger that becomes somebody else piece. But still you have to refer to the original source and you can make your own version. If today you can re-perform Bach, and make techno Bach out of this, why you can't re-perform the performance? The only way that reformists of this live element inside. So I have to live like that because otherwise it's just dead photograph on the paper or just another video.