Double bill: Abramović returns to Australia with blockbuster tour

After her celebrated stint at London's Serpentine Gallery in last summer, Marina Abramović returns, this time with a double bill of shows in Tasmania and Sydney. Photography: Paola Murray
(Image credit: Paola Murray)

Following on from last summer's success at the Serpentine Gallery, renowned Serbian artist Marina Abramović returns with a double season in Tasmania and Sydney.

It was by happy coincidence that the longstanding arts philanthropist John Kaldor and David Walsh, the enigmatic founder of the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA), approached Abramović for separate shows, imploring her to return to Australia. It is, after all, the setting for her first performance of 'The Gaze', which was largely responsible for her celebrity status. 'She holds Australia very dear to her heart,' explains Kaldor. 'It is like her artistic, spiritual home.'

At MONA, Abramović will perform some of her earliest pieces, originally conceived with her then-collaborative partner, the German artist Ulay, as well as some of her more recent work. The show, titled 'Private Archaeology', will run over a four-month period, beginning 13 June.

Then, over in Sydney, 'Marina Abramović: In Residence' will take her audience on a journey, making them active collaborators as opposed to a passive bystanders. As with her 2014 London show, '512 Hours', Abramović herself will ‘conduct’ her subjects through the now-famous ‘Abramović Method’, which endorses and instills mindfulness in her audience, taking them through a physical and emotional journey. Alongside her 12-day residency, the artist will take a dozen young artists under her wing.

Continuing her Australian tour, Abramović and David Walsh will host an afternoon of conversation at the Odeon Theatre in Hobart on 14 June; a true blockbuster of Abramović activities.

Marina Abramovic stands leaning on the wall holding the raiser of a bow, while her former partner holds a strung arrow towards her. The photo is black & white.

As part of 'Private Archaeology' at MONA, Abramović will explore some of her earliest performance pieces, many of which were collaborations with her partner and former lover, Ulay. Pictured here is their 'Rest Energy' of 1980

(Image credit: TBC)

Marina Abramovic has her gloved hands over her eyes. The photo is black & white.

Abramović, pictured here in 1997, is well known for what is now known as the 'Abramović Method', by which she instills in her audience a sense of mindfulness, taking them through a physical and emotional journey as part of her performance

(Image credit: TBC)

Marina Abramovic is holding a skeleton and washing it. There is dirt on her and the skeleton.

Throughout her entire working career, Abramović has been fascinated with the possibilities and the limits of the human body

(Image credit: TBC)

A close-up of Marina Abramovic's eye.

A still from Abramović's 1996 film showing an eyeball being poked and tickled. It formed part of her 'In Between' installation, where visitors had to sign a contract promising to stay for 40 minutes

(Image credit: TBC)

A close-up of Marina Abramovic's face covered in quartz crystals.

'Dozing Consciousness' of 1997. Abramović buried herself in a heap of quartz crystals, which shifted every time she breathed

(Image credit: TBC)