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Maria Popova at Brainpickings tweeted recently about artist Marina Abramović’s new production, “The Cleaner,” noting that it incorporated 40 Swedish choral groups. I couldn’t confirm that the choirs were 40 in number, but it looks like they were diverse.

At Deutsche Welle, Julia Hitz reports on her March 2017 visit to “The Cleaner.”

“Visitors had to leave all their personal belongings at the entrance and were allowed to stay as long as they wanted, becoming part of the performance. In fact, they were the actual performance. …

“Choirs and soloists are part of the performance. A group of professional singers connects the different choirs performing one after the other, resulting in a continuous, eight-hour-long musical performance.

” ‘They’re really a reflection of Sweden, like a small Stockholm: There are choirs of immigrants, such as the Iraqi Women’s Choir or the Bulgarian Choir, as well as traditional Swedish men choirs and church choirs, singing classical songs. Some solo musicians are also part of the performance,’ explains Catrin Lundqvist from Moderna Museet, who picked the choirs with Abramović and choreographer Lynsey Peisinger in a months-long process [that also involved] finding the 29 performers who are accompanying and guiding spectators through …

” ‘The Cleaner’ [was] performed daily at the Eric Ericson Hall in Stockholm through March 5, 2017. [Re-performances] of Abramović’s works are held through May 21, 2017. The retrospective will travel to Denmark and then to the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn in Germany next year, from April 20 – August 12, 2018.”

Some critics have called Marina Abramović too egocentric — for example, in the recent MoMA performance that had museum goers lining up for hours to sit and gaze into her eyes. But Maria Popova read her autobiography and feels sympathy for the traumatic childhood that shaped the artist. Popova posts this quote from the book:

‘When one of my baby teeth fell out and the bleeding wouldn’t stop, everyone thought I might have hemophilia so I was put in the hospital for a year. That was the happiest, most wonderful time of my life. Everybody was taking care of me and nobody was punishing me. I never felt at home in my own home and I never feel at home anywhere.’

Read about the Swedish performance of “The Cleaners” here and about Maria Popova’s take on the artist here.

Photo: Moderna Museet/Åsa Lundén
Marina Abramović’s “The Cleaner” performed in Stockholm.

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