The Museum of Modern Love could have been a title of a Sex & the City episode – but is a new novel, based on the work of Serbian artist Marina Abramovic.
Most of us have a clear picture in mind when talking about TheArtist is Present, Marina Abramovic’2010 performance at MoMA in New York. For the performance, Abramovic basically sat at a table for 3 months, six to seven hours a day, and invited the public audience to sit opposite and exchanging meditative gazes.
This performance served as the backbone for a new novel, The Museum of Modern Love, by Australian writer Heather Rose, that just won a number of literature awards.
Abramovic former relationship with fellow artist, Ulay, formed many of her performance pieces – just recall the former couple sucking air out of each other’s mouths until they passed out and was also an essential ingredient for the 2010 performance.
While Abramović and her work is the center of the book, the narrative drive comes from the stories of people who come to participate in the performance, often at crossroads in their own biographies.
The writer has met Abramović in person only once, although she participated in the 2010 performance four times. Rose sought and received permission from the artist to include her as a character in the novel and reportedly, Abramovic loved the final outcome.
While Rose had originally envisaged writing about an artist inspired by Abramović, sitting with Abramović during the 2010 performance fundamentally changed the basis of the book.
“I knew when I sat with her that I could no longer do a fictionalised version of her, she had to be herself,” Rose said. “Because the sitting with her was so strange and so otherworldly, but also so terribly secular, that I thought there’s no way I can ever tell the power of this woman’s story by fictionalising her.”
Photos via Wikiart