Marina Abramović, Gates and Portals, installation view at Modern Art Oxford, 2022. Photography by Thierry Bal. © Modern Art Oxford
Marina Abramović worked with Factum Arte on two site-specific performance-based works for her solo exhibition 'Gates and Portals' (24 September 2022 - 5 March 2023) at Modern Art Oxford, following her research residency at the Pitt Rivers Museum during the summer of 2021.
The concept behind Portal stems from the idea of physical and spiritual transition, which was translated into a 297cm-tall portal adorned with 190 selenite crystals jutting out from each internal side. Selenite is a variety of gypsum with properties that conduct light and act as a natural optic fiber. A custom-made circuit of LED panels transmits light through the crystals, which emerges from the absorbant black-painted steel structure. This creates a portal with an intensely illuminated centre.
“The simple reason why this new show at Modern Art Oxford is very important is that it’s the most minimal and the most radical conceptually I ever made until now … I’m happy about this because I want my entire concentration to be on the visitor and how they're going to perceive this work. Normally visitors to museums never have any kind of demands made of them; they come, they see the work, they go. They’re silent witnesses and they’re passing by. In my case, here the visitors are not silent witnesses, they're part of the show and they participate in the show.
Their experience with the object is the artwork itself, without that experience the objects are empty.”
- Marina Abramović on the exhibition 'Gates and Portals'
Detail of the selenite © Oak Taylor-Smith for Factum Arte
Marina Abramovic during a visit to Factum Arte's workshops to oversee the production © Oak Taylor-Smith for Factum Arte
Irene Gaumé and Portal before painting
Detail of Portal © Oak Taylor-Smith for Factum Arte