Marina Abramovic at Serpentine Gallery, London

“512 Hours” is the name of Marina Abramovic's performance she’s presenting this summer at the Serpentine Gallery in London. For six days a week she’ll open the doors to the gallery each morning welcoming visitors to spend some time with her.

After queuing, for apparently forever, you and 159 other visitors are asked to leave your belongings, such as phones, cameras and watches (everything that can give a sense of time) in the lockers, before entering the gallery spaces where Abramovic, together with her 45 personally trained assistant, will guide you. Towards what, it is still not quite clear. When the grand dame of performance art released a teaser video, a few weeks before hand, she spoke about ideas, that always play a big role in her shows: the energy and relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, duration as well as the endless possibilities of the mind.

Marina Abramovic for 512 hours alone with her audience in the three empty showrooms. Vagueness is part of the concept, she explains. The fact that she does not know where this performance will lead and what will happen, frightens her very much, she adds. Never before had Abramovic approached a performance without a solid plan. This, of course, involves more than ever the possibility of failure, she says, which is what scares her the most. 


The idea to make the visitor, at least for a small period of time, stop constantly planing the future, to let her/him escape the fast pace of everyday life and to focus on the now, sounds like a very noble objective. The artist together with her assistance will try to achieve that  by positioning the visitor in the room, holding their hand and guiding them to some kind of meditation exercise. Appealing to some enthusiastic visitors (fans), while others left rather unimpressed, the rumor is.

But even if you really want to meet Abramovic and be part of this experience, it might take you a while. The queue in front of the Gallery stretches each day deeper into the Hyde Park.

Under the hashtag #SGqueue you can have a little peak into peoples experiences waiting to be part of the performance. But, once you make it to the front of the line and are allowed to enter, you can stay as much as you want! Well, isn’t that something?


Marina Abramovic: 512 Hours
Serpentine Gallery, London, until August 25, 2014
All pictures by © Marco Anelli