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The Kitchen V, Carrying the milk

  • 2009
  • Marina Abramovic
  • Color video with sound
  • Duration: 12 min. 42 s. loop

Carrying the Milk was filmed in the abandoned kitchen of the Laboral University of Gijón (Asturias, Spain) which was originally built to be an orphanage. In this selfportrait as a foster mother, the artist, austere and dressed in black, in the monastic setting of this time-ravaged kitchen, “religiously” holds a container of milk. Despite an apparent stillness and a mind inhabited by action, the artist trembles, gradually spilling the white liquid on her long black dress. The milk references the initial purpose of the place, and the kitchen resembles that of her pious grandmother, where family life took place. With the addition of a mystical reference—the performances of the Kitchen series are inspired by the life of Saint Teresa of Avila—and her contemplative nature, Marina Abramović continues to explore the precarious balance between body and spirit, considering her work as a form of spiritual purification. 

© Adagp, Paris, 2020

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Marina Abramovic

A pioneer of body art, Marina Abramović rose to prominence in the 1970s through her radical actions that explored and challenged the physical and mental limits of the human body.

In 1973 she began experimenting on her own body, often naked, pushing her relationship with the public to the extreme, sometimes inviting them to intervene with her. In 1975 she began a fusional collaboration with the Dutch artist Ulay. Their actions examined the duality and alterity between man and woman. Abramović began performing alone in the 1990s. Adopting a more theatrical form, her pieces combined her family heritage with the contemporary history and folklore of Serbia. The fundamental aspects of the human condition – time, presence, facing others – are the themes she tackles in her current performances, involving the public in ritualistic acts.

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