Ecstasy II (b), 2012 From the series: With Eyes Closed I See Happiness

Photo: Courtesy the artist

From the series “With Eyes Closed I See Happiness”
Fine art pigment print

Over the past fifty years, Marina Abramović has earned worldwide acclaim as a pioneer of performance art. Her work consistently explored the boundaries of her own physical and mental thresholds and invited audiences to encounter it with her. “I test the limits of myself in order to transform myself,” she says. For her visitor record breaking show “The Artist Is Present” at MoMA in New York in 2010, Abramović sat motionless in a chair for eight hours a day for three months while people queued for hours to sit opposite her, mostly resulting in a silent and deeply emotional connection. 

Abramović developed a technique that allowed her to reach a higher plane of consciousness required for endurance-based work. She coined her practices the Abramović Method, an exploration of being present in both time and space, incorporating exercises that center on breath, motion, stillness, and concentration. Ecstasy II (b) is part of a series of large photographic works titled “With Eyes Closed I See Happiness.” While ecstasy literally means being outside of the self, it is often used in a paradoxical sense, indicating a state of religious or spiritual transcendence characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual work. Ecstasy II (b) seems to indicate that by looking inside oneself and grounding one’s consciousness, a person can develop a deeper capacity for reaching out. Abramović’s simple gesture of extending and lifting her left arm—touching and feeling the absent presence of the other while being in a state of deep mediation—possibly asserts that ecstasy, or exteriority toward the other, forever remains a tentative attempt and yet the source of great happiness. The empty space surrounding Abramović’s figure symbolically fixes her action and the need for clarity, which is the necessary prelude to any work of concentration. 


Group show: Remedios
Venue: C3A Centro de Creación Contemporánea de Andalucía, Córdoba
Curator: Daniela Zyman
Exhibition 14 April 2023 -  March 2024

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1946. Lives in New York, USA.