Marina Abramovic, 2004

Marina Abramovic: Spirit of Mozart
Sammlung Würth, Inv. 15608

In „Spirit of Mozart,“ the performance and video artist Marina Abramovic presents an „interactive sculpture“ consisting of an ensemble of chairs occupying and extending into space. An enormous, fifteen-metre-high chair is surrounded by eight further ones which passersby are invited to use. The stainless-steel installation represents an invitation and a challenge, to sit quietly and contemplate – and this in a place that is pulsating with activity.

The artist has immersed herself in Salzburg and its history. Here is her own description of what inspired her work: “I wanted to create a place of contemplation and devote it to the spirit of Mozart right in the heart of Salzburg, in the midst of traffic and the hectic, pulsating bustle of the city. Religion plays a very important role in this city. But for the Salzburgers, music was the means to express their emotions. Even today, everybody in the world still associates Salzburg with music: Mozart.

When you walk through the streets of Salzburg and look up, you don’t see the horizon, but are confronted by a mountain wall. This geographic condition can influence the inhabitants to turn their lives more strongly inwards. This produces a strong urge to establish their own rules and traditions, in order to protect themselves from the unknown world outside.

I would like to create a seat for the spirit of Mozart. It is fifteen metres high, has no seat surface, but only the outward shape of a chair. When you stand under it, you see the sky. The spirit is something invisible, but when you erect a seat for it, the invisible becomes visible. Anyone who sits and thinks long enough will be able to enter a connection with invisible forces.

Mozart and Salzburg had a tense relationship. In his youth, Salzburg was the point of departure for several extended journeys, and he composed many important works there. His spirit belongs to Salzburg. For me, the work „Spirit of Mozart“ is a gesture for a new and different understanding, and also a gesture of reconciliation.”

Recommendations to the viewer

  • Sit down on the chair
  • Close your eyes
  • Look inwards
  • Lose track of time

Inaugural Address by Peter Iden (in german)


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