Marina Abramović

7 Deaths of Maria Callas

★☆☆☆☆

On until 11 November 2023

Does self-obsession make a diva or is it the product of her fame? It would be unfair to appraise this line-up of arias from Verdi, Bizet, and Puccini sung by seven sopranos as an operatic production because their perfectly competent renderings are mere footnotes to Abramović’s narcissism who is the work’s only protagonist. Thankfully, this prima donna doesn’t sing but her body constantly dominates the stage in giant projections that humiliate Tosca and Carmen as if their deaths were nothing compared to Marina’s.

When the heroine speaks, she spouts nonsensical last words which confirm that cynical grand delusion has been the Abramović method for decades. This has none of the charm of Norma Desmond, none of the heartbreak of Norma Jane Baker, and none of the dramatic charge of Bellini’s Norma, either.

Not content with her stardom – and this production is a testament to the unchanging nature of showbusiness – Abramović wants to destroy all performance and all women until she holds the monopoly over stage death. But this abuse is only for vanity because Marina trades any pretence for the crowd’s mindless cheer. And it’s on us that we prefer a train crash over a fall from grace.


notes and notices are short and curt exhibition reviews. Read more:

Michaël Borremans, The Monkey at David Zwirner ★★★★★

Michaël Borremans

The Monkey

★★★★★

Borremans toys with his subjects, his audience, and with art history.

Lutz Bacher, AYE! at Raven Row ★★★★☆

Lutz Bacher

AYE!

★★★★☆

There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition. There’s joy in repetition.

Sin Wei Kin, Portraits at Soft Opening ★★☆☆☆

Sin Wei Kin

Portraits

★★☆☆☆

This exhibition combines the most vulgar of all art school tropes: juvenile narcissism, NFT kitsch, and mindless referentialism.

A Comparative Dialogue Act, Luxemburg pavilion in Venice ★★☆☆☆

Andrea Mancini, Every Island

A Comparative Dialogue Act

★★☆☆☆

Stage fright is real. Cowardice is another thing altogether.

Ksenia Pedan, Revision at Cell Project Space ★★★★☆

Ksenia Pedan

Revision

★★★★☆

Pedan’s paintings would rather be anything but.

Pakui Hardware, Maria Terese Rozanskaite, Inflammation at Lithuanian pavilion Venice ★★★☆☆

Pakui Hardware, Maria Terese Rožanskaité

Inflammation

★★★☆☆

One of the novelties in Venice is the artwork that looks good but on reflection isn’t.

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