"We are talking big; we are talking enormous," Marina Abramovic gushed (in her signature monotone) at a private announcement on Friday in Venice, describing the size (140,000 square meters) of the future Marina Abramovic Community Center Obod Cetinje.  The institution will be dedicated to performance, dance, theater, opera, music and film. Set to open in 2013 in the town of Cetinje, Montenegro, the building will host an exchange program for young and international artists, an archive and a performance and rehearsal center.


PHOTO BY LAZA PEJOVIC



RoseLee Goldberg, Riccardo Tisci, Klaus Biesenbach, Rem Koolhaas, Chrissie Iles, Mike and Doug Starn and Yvonne Force Villareal listened on as Abramovic and Montenegro's Minister of Culture, Branislav Micunovic, described the proposed site, once the largest plant for manufacturing refrigerators in Eastern Europe. The building's architect will be disclosed in September, but whoever takes on the job will have their hands full converting the 28 industrial halls full of old equipment.

Naming the space for Abramovic intends to bring international recognition to the artist's home country of Montenegro and take the center to the world stage. "My name is like a brand, like Coca Cola," Abramovic said. "When you say my name you think of performance."

She plans to combine the goals of the new center with those of her personal foundation already established in Hudson, New York. The Upstate location will focus on performances of a longer duration - six hours or more. "My work is all about having time because in our life we don't have it," Abramovic explained.

The early morning breakfast, held at the Montenegro Pavilion, also toasted artists Ilija Soskic, Natalija Vujosevic and Milica Zec who are representing the former Yugoslavian nation in the Biennale. The latter, who worked on a documentary-style promotional video outlining the project, also has the task of editing 736 hours of video from Abramovic's MOMA performance last year.

Zec enthused that the process is like reliving the performance, and described the 45 minutes she sat across from Abramovic at the museum as an "out-of-body experience." This proposed center seeks to present yet another once-in-a-lifetime experience.



Above: Riccardo Tisci and Marina Abramovic. Photo: Billy Farrell Agency.