Performance artist Marina Abramovic returns to native Belgrade for retrospective

Performance artist Marina Abramovic returned to Belgrade Saturday to inaugurate the final exhibition of a major touring retrospective. (AP)
Updated 21 September 2019

Performance artist Marina Abramovic returns to native Belgrade for retrospective

  • ‘You know for me it’s very emotional to be here, and it’s not easy, there’s lots of nostalgia, lots of memories that are forgotten’
  • Doling out advice for youth, the artist said: ‘It is very important to follow your heart, your ideas, without compromising’

BELGRADE: The boundary-pushing performance artist Marina Abramovic returned to Belgrade Saturday to inaugurate the final exhibition of a major touring retrospective, marking her first professional homecoming in nearly 50 years.
Dressed in black, the 72-year-old invited reporters to Belgrade’s Contemporary Art Museum at dawn for the “symbolic cleansing of her career.”
The retrospective, titled “The Cleaner,” exhibits more than 100 works from Abramovic’s past 50 years of provocative performances, many of which saw the artist put her own body on the line.
“You know for me it’s very emotional to be here, and it’s not easy, there’s lots of nostalgia, lots of memories that are forgotten,” she said of her return to the Serbian capital, a place she said shaped her outlook as an artist.
“I learned three things here: from my grandmother I learned spirituality … from my father I learned bravery, and from my mother willpower and discipline,” she said.
The exhibition, which has been touring Europe since 2017, features photo montages and video reels replaying many of Abramovic’s most daring works, including one where she laid out a table of 72 objects, among which figured scissors and a loaded gun, and invited spectators to use them on her “as desired.”
Another piece from 1997, titled Balkan Baroque, saw her sit and clean 1,000 beef bones while singing folk songs from her youth, earning her a Golden Lion award at the Venice Biennale.
Young Serbian artists also re-enacted some performances live on Saturday, including one in which a naked man and woman stand inside a doorway, forcing museum-goers to squeeze past their bodies.
Doling out advice for youth, the artist said: “It is very important to follow your heart, your ideas, without compromising.”
“To live for your art, which requires a lot of sacrifice,” she added.
At the start of the exhibition, Abramovic briefly sat down to re-enact a 2010 performance in New York named “The Artist is Present.”
That three-month-long piece saw her sit silently, without moving, for seven hours a day, six days a week, as visitors took turns sitting across her.
Asked if she would use her fame to bring more support to Serbian artists, Abramovic said:
“I am not a politician, but an artist, and I believe that this exhibit will show politicians that investing in culture will bring it to higher levels.”
The exhibit will be open in Belgrade until January 20, 2020.


Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf ties the knot in intimate wedding

Updated 10 August 2020

Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf ties the knot in intimate wedding

DUBAI: It’s official! Palestinian pop singer Mohammed Assaf is married.

The “Arab Idol” star tied the knot in an intimate wedding on Aug. 8 that had just family and close friends attending.

According to ET Bilarabi, the Palestinian-Danish bride is 22-year-old Reem Ouda. She lived with her family in Saudi Arabia for a few years, then moved to Denmark after her father died.

Palestinian singer Qasem Al-Najjar, who is Assaf’s friend, announced the news on Instagram on Monday.

“Finally good news in 2020,” he wrote. “Congratulations to my friend and brother Mohammed Assaf on his marriage. God bless you both and bring you together for goodness and happiness.”

It was rumored that the wedding took place in Dubai, where the couple will be living.

The 30-year-old singer has not yet confirmed the news.

Assaf is expected to perform in the UAE on Aug. 20 at Dubai Opera along with Iraqi singer Saif Nabeel. The concert is part of Dubai Summer Surprises, which is the city’s shopping and entertainment festival and is in its 23rd year.