The gleaming screens of Piccadilly Circus will be paused tonight, and their brazen displays of capitalist excess swapped for a work of art by the world's favourite performance artist, Marina Abramović. At 20.22, for three minutes, the car and TV ads will be silent, and Marina will roar.
Well, she won’t roar, but she’ll show some art. The work is called ‘The Hero’, and it's a celebration of – a call for – modern heroes. It features Marina herself sat on a white horse, waving a huge white flag. It’s an old piece, filmed in 2001 in the wake of the death of her father, who was a Yugoslav partisan in the Second World War.
The work will be on display at 8.22pm every day until August 31, here in Piccadilly and at similar locations around the world. The whole thing is organised by Circa, an organisation that has been taking over the Piccadilly screens and whacking art up since 2020, with previous artists including Yoko Ono, Ai Weiwei and David Hockney.
‘Our planet needs uncorrupted heroes with morality, who embody courage and bring real change,’Abramović explains. ‘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.’
Not quite sure how sitting very still on a white horse will bring about heroes with morality and courage. Well, that’s why she’s a world-famous artist and we’re not.
‘The Hero’ by Marina Abramović is at Piccadilly Lights until Aug 31. Free. Details here.