16 August – 1 November 2014
Taking its title from an early, immersive sound environment, White Space presents a range of historic works by Marina Abramović that have never been exhibited before. Featuring two important sound pieces, previously unseen video documentation of seminal performances and a number of photographs and works on paper, all dating from 1971-1981, the exhibition reveals the artist’s first forays into a performance-based practice dealing with time and the immaterial.
First realised in 1972 at The Student Cultural Centre in Belgrade, White Space was a room lined with white paper containing a tape recording of the artist repeating the phrase “I love you”. Visitors were instructed to “Enter the space. Listen.” Never since recreated, this work forms the centrepiece of this display of rare, formative Abramović works, which nevertheless relate thematically to her recent decision to strip down her practice to its essence and empty out the Serpentine Gallery for her long-durational performance there, entitled 512 Hours. A second audio work installed in its own environment, The Tree (1971) can be heard outside the gallery, in its central courtyard, where a number of speakers blare out an artificially amplified repetition of birds chirping, the insistent recording perhaps referring to the recorded pronouncements of Josip Broz ‘Tito’, Yugoslavia’s revolutionary socialist leader of the time, whom Abramović’s parents fought with and eventually served under, as military officers in the Communist government.