World-renowned artist Marina Abramović takes over Sky Arts channel for the day

Friday 16 October 2020

Marina Abramovic, 2019, film still from Body of Truth, © Indi Film

It was confirmed today that Marina Abramović will be the first artist in history to take over an entire TV channel. Exclusive to Sky Arts, Marina will be bringing her unique vision to television for the first time, telling the 100-year story of performance art- now the fastest growing, most controversial art form in the world.

Her mission is simple: to take performance art to as wide, diverse, young and global an audience as possible.

For the course of one evening, Marina will take over a dramatic TV space, deep diving into the very origins of performance art and its evolution to modern day, showcasing live performance from the most diverse, exciting, emerging artists in the world. Conceptually, this will be a mix of programmes and archive fronted by Marina, plus live and ‘as live’ performance.

Marina will explore the big themes of the art form to which she has devoted her life, making connections between the human body, sculpture, film, music, fashion, advertising, dance, community, society, spirituality and even life and death. The result will be eye-popping, beautiful, baffling, funny, heart-stopping and mind blowing.

The performance will contain elements of her own personal inspirations, from Dada and Salvador Dali to David Bowie, Cabaret Volaire, to Maria Calls, Surrealism to the Sex Pistols. This will culminate in a climatic final performance with mass participation led by Marina herself. The evening will not just educate and entertain Sky Arts viewers: it will shock, surprise, thrill and seduce.

Today’s announcement follows Sky Arts recent move to become a free-to-air channel, supercharging its mission to increase access to and drive participation in the arts, at a vital time for the cultural sector.

Marina’s Sky Arts takeover will air on Sky Arts this December and will be produced by Northern Town productions.

Marina Abramović said: “The world needs this art form now more than ever. It cannot change your life but it can open up a way to see it differently. This will be television as you've never seen before.”

Philip Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts, said: “As part of Sky’s ongoing commitment to arts and innovation, we’re delighted to be working with Marina and facilitating her brilliant, unique and artistic vision. This marks not only a first for Marina in transporting her art form to television performance, but a first for Sky Arts too, making us the first channel to ever grant an artist full control of a TV channel. Yes, that’s right, I’ll be handing the reigns over to Marina fully for the night. Gulp. I’m incredibly proud we’ve been able to make this happen and I’m excited to see what’s next for Sky Arts.”

Eddie Morgan, Executive Producer founder of Northern town We’re thrilled to be working with Marina Abramović and Sky Arts. Together we want to make this as original, bold, accessible, ground-breaking and un-missable as possible. Performance art is maybe not for everyone, but we want to show it can be for anyone. We want to try new things. You don’t get to new places by following old roads."

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About Sky Arts

As the UK’s only dedicated arts channel, Sky Arts exists to bring more art to more people across the UK. By throwing open the doors to make the channel free to air, we want to increase access to and participation in the arts.

Offering something for everyone, whatever their passion, Sky Arts showcases the best of classical and popular music, theatre, opera, dance and the visual arts, as well as original drama and comedy.

Sky Arts is available to watch on Freeview channel 11 and Freesat channel 147.

About Sky

Sky is Europe’s leading media and entertainment company and is proud to be part of the Comcast group. Across six countries, we connect our 24 million customers to the best entertainment, sports, news, arts and to our own award-winning original content.

Our technology, including the market leading Sky Q, connects people to everything they love - TV, music, games, online video, fitness and educational content, all in one place, easy. Our streaming service, NOW TV, brings viewers all the enjoyment of Sky with the flexibility of a contract-free service.

Building on the success of Sky Originals like Chernobyl, I Hate Suzie and Brassic, we are doubling our investment in original content by 2024 through Sky Studios. Sky News provides impartial and trustworthy journalism for free, while Sky Arts, the UK’s only dedicated free-to-air arts channel, makes the arts accessible for everyone. Our new TV and movie studio, Sky Studios Elstree, is expected to create over 2,000 new jobs and generate an additional £3 billion of production investment in the UK over the first five years alone.

We believe that we can be a force for good in the communities in which we operate. We’re committed to being Europe’s first net zero carbon entertainment company by 2030. We take pride in our approach to diversity and inclusion: we’ve been recognised by The Times and Stonewall for our commitment to diversity and we’ve put in place a new programme to invest £30million across our markets over the next three years to tackle racial injustice.

About Marina Abramović

Since the beginning of her career in Belgrade during the early 1970s, Marina Abramovic has pioneered performance art, creating some of the form's most important early works. Exploring her physical and mental limits, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation.

Abramovic was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale. In 2010, Abramovic had her first major U.S. retrospective and simultaneously performed for over 700 hours in “The Artist is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Abramovic founded Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI), a platform for immaterial and long durational work to create new possibilities for collaboration among thinkers of all fields.

Her most recent publication is Walk Through Walls: A Memoir, Published by Crown Archetype on October 25, 2016. Her retrospective The Cleaner opened at Moderna Museet, Stockholm in February 2017 and has toured to seven additional European venues, ending at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia in 2019. In September 2020 the Bayerische Staats Oper will present the world premiere of 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, and will tour to other venues. In 2021 she will present the solo exhibition After Life at the Royal Academy, and become the first female artist in the institution’s 250 year history to occupy the entire gallery space with her work.

About Northern Town

Northern Town was set up by Eddie Morgan to develop and produce innovative and entertaining arts, music and culture programmes from short-form for social media to major TV series. Northern Town’s Brilliant Ideas for Bloomberg TV was one of the biggest arts series ever made, 75 programmes featuring the world’s leading visual artists.

Recent commissions include Get Creative at Home for the BBC, with artists and performers including Cynthia Erivo, Antony Gormley, Shazia Mirza, Jools Holland and Es Devlin. For Sky Arts Northern Town is working with artist Sarah Maple on a new format combining video art with the TV sitcom.

Exec Producer Eddie Morgan has worked a wide range of programmes from Newsnight to editor of the Culture Show. The Series Producer will be Alison Grist, who directed Picasso Live at Tate Modern and Van Gogh at Tate Britain for Sky Arts. Her passion is for bringing arts of all kinds to as wide an audience as possible.

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