Act I : Bodies and Wedding

Project Description

Amir Baradaran’s The Other Artist is Present is a performance in four acts wherein he honors, questions and ultimately departs from Marina Abramovic’s performance at The Museum of Modern Art, entitled The Artist Is Present  (9 March - 31 May 2010). Abramovic has invited the public to participate in her latest work: a living sculpture in which patrons silently engage the artist for the length of their choosing. Baradaran, too, accepts her invitation, but as an impassioned fellow artist looking to draw her into a ‘sohbat’–the Persian term for a conversation with both spiritual and corporeal dimensions.

Artist Statement

As I enter the meditative space in a flowing red gown—a close facsimile to Abramovic's deep blue robe—I add symmetry to the scene. Out of earshot of the audience, I expresses my deep and sincere devotion to Abramovic's artistic legacy: "I love your bodies of work… and I would love to be wedded to this body.... do you accept this marriage, here and now?"

I evoke the Shiite provision of temporary marriage: a fixed-term, noncommittal relationship by which intimacy could be shared for a specific time. My request is met with silence. I then go on to playfully describe a "national tradition" in which the woman coquettishly hesitates to respond when asked for her hand: "in my culture… they say she is out making rose water…" I end my ceremony with a joyous dance—a whiplash shift from dialogue to dance inspired by the tongue-in-cheek sensibility of Abramovic's "This is How We Kill Rats in the Balkans."

I symbolically wed the icon in a manner reminiscent of her own work: through the juxtaposition of the solemn and the celebratory.