It’s called the Longevity Method, the latest creation of internationally renowned performer Marina Abramović. Not only singers, influencers, or actors, but now contemporary art can also engage with beauty? «I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,» says journalist Emma Beddington in an article in The Guardian, summarizing our own reaction to the news in a few words. A few days ago, the seventy-seven-year-old artist launched her holistic skincare line, created with the help of Dr. Nonna Brenner, who had previously helped her recover from Lyme disease. The announcement comes through an extravagant video. Eccentric, it goes around and becomes strange. The performer and the doctor put their faces on it, promising the rediscovery of «forgotten rituals and knowledge from the past,» all under the banner of the Abramović Longevity Concept. Needless to say, public opinion is divided. But before reflecting on this controversial choice, let’s emphasize the price of this cream and ask if you would ever buy it. £199 for the face moisturizer, made from white bread, vitamin C, and white wine, a bit less for the three serums – or rather, “drops of well-being” – on the shelves at £99 each.
Art as a capitalist tool?
The question arises naturally. Does the artist who allowed others to act on her own body now worry about the signs that time leaves on her face? Emma Beddington – in the piece from The Guardian mentioned above – answers this question with three hypotheses, making us hope for a motivation beyond the capitalist raison d’être. Is it perhaps Art? The beginning of a real wellness empire, or is it truly a functional method? Abramović herself tells Vogue that «Nonna is determined to make me live to 110,» emphasizing that «Artists are taken really seriously only after 100, so if I make it, maybe they’ll finally take me seriously». What is certain is the reaction of the art world, which turns up its nose at this commercial stunt. Is the “Grandmother of performance art” stooping to the level of influencers and their umpteenth beauty lines?
Another provocation and more criticisms
In this analysis, it is important to consider another point of view. Marina Abramović has always been known for her holistic and provocative approach. Just think of the long performance at the MoMA in New York in 2010, when the artist sat in a chair for three long months, staring into the eyes of anyone who sat in front of her. Her performances certainly did not shield her from criticism; on the contrary, the disturbing element distinguished her in the international art scene. Therefore, if provocation and holism have always been her prerogatives, some think that this natural beauty line can only be considered consistent. Perhaps the answer is right in front of our eyes. We are talking about the communication adopted to launch the product. A sensationalistic video that, precisely because of its ambiguous characteristics, leaves room for doubt. Is there something more? We can only hope that behind this joint venture, there is something else. A long performance to be discovered over time that may surprise us enough to change our minds.