As we see more and more veteran artists enter the new frontier of NFTs that shows no signs of stopping its growth, there is a wide breadth of individuals joining the trend. From family members of Picasso stumbling their way in and out of the field to the stunts surrounding the group Burnt Banksy, artists across generations are having their work brought into this new realm. Now the legendary performance artist Marina Abramović is stepping into the ring with an NFT of The Hero.
Presented by arts platform CIRCA through the Tezos blockchain (a notably more energy-efficient alternative to other blockchains), July 2022 onwards will see the presentation of unreleased material from Abramović’s The Hero (2001). The distribution of the NFTs extracted from this unused material will be either single frames as a .JPG or multiple frames as a .GIF. More uniquely than this though will be CIRCA’s presentation of the piece across international video billboards, bringing the striking piece to audiences around the globe.
Abramović’s The Hero was a video-based performance piece inspired by the story of her parents’ first meeting. During World War 2, her father was fighting on the front lines and her mother was administering medical aid to them. Her mother fell victim to typhus and wound up unconscious in the forest, eventually discovered by her father riding on a white horse. He carried her to a nearby village to heal, and they would meet again when he was gravely injured in a makeshift hospital, only to be treated by and given a blood transfusion from the same woman he had rescued.
Despite Abramović having stated earlier that she did not see anything currently worthwhile in the medium of NFTs and highlighting the hyper-focus on the monetary value within its community, her creation of an NFT of The Hero is not too surprising. Abramović has always aimed to push boundaries—from her iconic and pervasive influence through the series Rhythm to her deeply connective work in VR on the climate crisis via Rising—and there is certainly still much to be explored in this new realm of Web3.
“Our planet needs uncorrupted heroes with morality,” the artist states, “who embody courage and bring real change. Every day in this world is a shaky, uncertain, constantly changing landscape. For CIRCA 2022, we have this white horse. This white flag. This beautiful land. We need heroes that can bring new light to illuminate us. Heroes that can inspire us to be better, and to work together, not against each other. Heroes who care.”
Without a doubt, the need for stories of heroism can be felt more than ever today. Abramović speaks of the growing terror resulting from the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, standing on the precipice of world war. And in its simple, stoic manner, The Hero stands as a symbol of peace and unity, echoing a true tale of love in the face of disaster and planting the seed for an artist who would seek to share that dream with the world.