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Marina Abramovic Givenchy SS16 New York
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Marina Abramović to electrify herself with one million volts in new project

Shock horror

Marina Abramović has announced that a new art piece will see her electrified with one million volts, to extinguish a candle just by pointing at it. The performance will take place at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2020 – the first time a woman has taken over the galleries space with a major show.

According to The Times, the famed performance artist is working with art-tech company Factum Arte, which is creating a machine to shock her. It’s inspired by techniques used in 19th century Kirlian photography, where volts were used to make print photographs, as Frieze reports.

“If you are charged up properly, the stream of electricity coming from your fingers will put out a candle a metre away from you,” Factum Arte’s founder Adam Lowe explained to the Times

“We are not reckless or cavalier with the technology. Her performances are highly extreme. Many of the things she has done are far more dangerous.”

Additionally, Abramović plans to create and show a table of glass tears and a fountain crafted like her own body with bloody coming “out of everything”.

The Serbian artist, now 71-years-old, is known for her provocative pieces that test her own endurance and deep-seated trauma, that have in turn ignited controversy as much as an adoring community. There’s her notable “Carrying the Skeleton” performance, the extreme “Rhythm 5” where she almost suffocated in the flames, and “Rhythm 0” where an audience member held a loaded gun to her head.

Dazed recently spoke with the artist in a candid conversation about her fascinating life and work. “One thing that fascinated me about performance at that time and still now, is the immateriality,” she says. “It’s so immaterial, and in the beginning, when you’re a young artist you make so much material because you are scared you are not enough. Constantly you have to make more and more through youthful insecurity. Once you really get to the stage of being comfortable, you start to understand that you can create your own field and create a direct communication with the audience. Once you find that, you find the entrance point to another world.”