Marina Abramovic describes her harrowing 1974 performance of Rhythm 0

What happens if you allow a group of onlookers to do anything they want to you for six hours? Marina Abramovich found out in 1974 when she laid out dozens of items on a table, including a gun with one bullet, and allowed strangers to use the items on her however they saw fit.

She endured through the entire performance, which included sexual abuse, and when one visitor placed the gun in her hand and tried to use her own finger to pull the trigger, a fight broke out. She continued the piece for the full six hours.

Via The Tate:

Rhythm 0 by the Serbian artist Marina Abramovic comprises seventy-two objects set out on a long table covered with a white tablecloth, as well as sixty-nine slides. The slides are projected onto the gallery wall above the table from a projector which sits on a stand. Among the objects on the table is a framed description of a performance piece of the same name that took place at Studio Morra in Naples in 1974. The slides document this performance and the objects replicate the original props used. Many are perishable items, such as foodstuffs and flowers, which need to be replaced each time the work is displayed. The work was remade for exhibition purposes in 2009 as part of the Abramovic’s retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. It exists in an edition of three plus two artist’s proofs, and Tate’s copy is number one in the edition.

Bonus video: discussing The Artist Is Present (2010):

Marina Abramovic on Rhythm 0 (1974) (Vimeo / Marina Abramovic Institute)

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