Marina Abramović, the legendary performance artist, has taken over London with two major exhibitions that showcase her past and present works. The first one is a new and unprecedented project at the Southbank Centre, featuring some of the most iconic pieces of durational performance artwork done by her past students, which have been curated by the artist herself. The second one is a retrospective spanning 50 years of her career being held at the Royal Academy of Arts, where Abramović invites visitors to engage with reenactments of some of her more famous works of durational performance art which explore the concept of presence and the power of collective energy. This is the first time in the RA's 255 year history that a female artist has been given a retrospective.

Both exhibitions are challenging, provocative and immersive, as Abramović pushes the boundaries of art and human experience. At the RA, we can witness the artist's physical and emotional endurance, as she confronts pain, fear, vulnerability and mortality in works such as Rhythm 0 (1974), where she allowed the audience to use 72 objects on her body, including a gun and a bullet; video footage from The Artist is Present (2009), where she sat silently for 736 hours opposite thousands of strangers at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; and Imponderabilia (1977), where she and her former partner Ulay stood facing each other naked in an entrance, thereby forcing gallery visitors to face either one or the other while entering the exhibition.

In 512 Hours, we experience the artist's presence and charisma, as she guides us through a series of exercises that aim to create a state of mindfulness and awareness. The exhibition is stripped of any material elements, except for some chairs, headphones and blindfolds. The only artwork is the artist herself and the visitors who participate in her experiment. Abramović claims that this is the most radical and risky work she has ever done, as she relies solely on the interaction and connection with the public.

The RA exhibition includes videos, images, installations and performances, charting what is now an iconic 50+ year career. This is the first time in the RA's 255-year history that a female artist has been given a retrospective. For more on the retrospective being held at the Royal Academy of Arts, please visit the following link.

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