Christies will offer Marina Abramovićs seminal performance piece The Life - the worlds first Mixed Reality artwork - as a major highlight of its Frieze Week 2020 auction programme. Coinciding with Abramovićs show at Londons Royal Academy of Arts, which is also the first time a woman has been selected for the main galleries in the institutions 250+ year history, The Life is expected to be the first work of its kind to be presented at auction and is offered by Tin Drum, inc. in association with Abramović LLC. A ground-breaking fusion of art and technology, The Life was premiered at Londons Serpentine Gallery in February 2019. The 19-minute performance offers an intimate digital encounter with Abramović herself, experienced via wearable spatial computing devices. A hologram of the artist appears, proceeding to pace around a roped off five-metre circle before evaporating into thin air. Unlike Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality allows the other visitors and gallery space to remain visible at the same time, creating a unique interactive experience. Abramovićs pioneering use of this evolving technology reflects her longstanding interest in the limitations of the human body and mind: an enquiry that, since the 1970s, has given rise to one of the worlds greatest performance art practices. An international tour of the artwork will be announced by Christies in early 2020.
Katharine Arnold, Co-Head, Post-War and Contemporary Art, Christies Europe: We are thrilled to offer The Life by Marina Abramović as a key highlight of the Post-War and Contemporary Art Evening Auction during Londons Frieze Week. Abramović has long been considered a ground-breaking artist whose performances push boundaries and this is expected to be the first Mixed Reality artwork to come up for auction. Following an international tour in 2020, visitors to our King Street galleries will have the opportunity to experience, via wearable spatial computing devices, the artist walking in and around them virtually. The presentation will coincide with Abramovićs show at the Royal Academy of Arts.
Marina Abramović was recently interviewed by Christies Magazine about The Life where she stated that the theme of the work is immortality: because you are there, preserved forever, she says. Director of The Life, Todd Eckert, adds that A hundred years beyond when anybody who ever knew [Marina] is alive, there will be people that will see her walk into the room and will feel that sense of connection, of human experience.
Eckert is the founder of Tin Drum, inc., the Mixed Reality production team behind The Life. Tim Drum, inc. specialises in using volumetric photography of real people to create presentations of performance. For The Life, Abramović was filmed with 32 cameras against a green screen, creating an authentic representation of the human form in motion. This process is currently only possible in a few studios worldwide.
Todd Eckert gave a keynote speech to delegates at Christies Art + Tech Summit, held in Hong Kong on the morning of 21 November 2019.
Christies spoke to Marina Abramović and Todd Eckert regarding The Life. The feature and film can be viewed online