“We always project into the future or reflect in the past,
but we are so little in the present.”
Among his most beloved works, J.S. Bach’s Goldberg Variations is a towering keyboard masterpiece with a life of its own, with themes, harmonies, and contrapuntal strands of the musical sequence that await the creative imagination of both performer and listener to connect them. Igor Levit, who made his impressive North American recital debut at the Armory in 2014, interprets this classic composition in an installation created by seminal artist Marina Abramović.
Having redefined what performance art is for nearly 40 years, she now re-imagines the concert-going experience by employing her Abramović Method to explore the relationship between performer and observer, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Goldberg invites audiences to become a part of the music and experience the work in an entirely new context. The audience will prepare for Levit’s performance by dispossessing themselves of the trappings of everyday society by placing their personal belongings—including cell phones, watches, and other technological devices—inside a private locker. Upon entering the drill hall, the crowd will sit in silence for an extended period of time, after which Levit will perform all 30 variations to heighten the effect of the piece on their mind and body.
This concentrated durational work reflects upon music, time, space, emptiness, and luminosity, with the audience becoming a part of the work and in the process, connecting with themselves and with the present — the elusive moment of the here and now.
Sunday, December 13 at 5:00pm. A discussion with Igor Levit and Marina Abramović, moderated by Alex Poots, Park Avenue Armory Artistic Director.
Piano: Igor Levit
Visual Artist: Marina Abramović
Commissioned by Park Avenue Armory.
Support for this production has been provided by Agnes Gund, the Reed Foundation, and by the Charles H. Revson Foundation. The production is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Goldberg is also made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Image: Marco Anelli.