RMIT School of Art student Nicola Gunn is one of 12 artists selected to take part in a prestigious Artist Residency Program with renowned performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Gunn, along with RMIT alumnus Christian Thompson, will both participate in this year’s Kaldor Public Art Projects’ intensive live mentorship program, Marina Abramovic: In Residence, in Sydney later this month.
Over the course of the in-house residency, the personally selected artists will be mentored by Abramovic, refine their practices and take part in workshops and panel discussions.
While in residency, Gunn will be working on a new performance project that attempts to navigate the “excruciating realms of human behaviour”.
Her project will investigate the capacity for individuals to make moral judgments and the responsibility to relate to others in an ethical way.
Gunn says the residency will allow her to develop a greater sense of clarity of intention and sensitivity in how she relates to the public through her work.
“I have an incredible awe for Abramovic’s courage and conceptual clarity, and so of course I feel incredibly nervous because I have no idea what is going to happen during this residency,” she said.
“Her tremendous sense of presence, focus and vulnerability that she brings to her live work has inspired me personally; likewise her commitment to risk, self-liberation and anti-authoritarian strategies.”
Gunn’s practice seeks to find parallels between personal experiences and larger social realities, using subversive humour to address themes of identity and transformation in the social and individual realms.
“I’m interested in investigating the role of art and art-making through a socio-political lens to inform and challenge my practice, and do this by situating my work in non-theatre spaces,” Gunn said.
“I feel that in order to sustain the social relevance of theatre, we need to take audiences out of their comfort zones and really challenge ways of being.”
Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) Program Manager, Dr Maggie McCormick, said Gunn and Thompson’s selection was testament to the high standard of work coming out of RMIT’s School of Art.
“The selection of a current Master of Arts (Art in Public Space) student and Master of Fine Arts alumnus is a wonderful opportunity to profile the diversity of creative work being undertaken at RMIT,” McCormick said.
“Nicola’s selection recognises the importance of multi-disciplinary approaches to creative practice to critically engage with contemporary urban culture.”
Marina Abramovic: In Residence will be held at Pier 2/3 in Walsh Bay in Sydney from 24 June to 5 July.