Through The Arrangement, Marina Markovic explores submission and domination in relation to the female body, focusing on the spectrum of free will and coercion. The project presents a multimedia environment in which the body takes center stage, mediating between personal choices and pressure created by the society, the art market, figures and institutions. The artist invites us to pay special attention to the skin, which physically separates us from other bodies, while also allowing for stereotypes and expectations to project on its surface. She invites galleries and institutions to tattoo their logos on her body, further examining the power dynamics between them and herself.
In doing so, Marina brings in many references. Simultaneously an embellishment and a scar, a tattoo leaves a permanent trace on one’s body, descending from its historical purpose to determine one’s identity, be it associated with class and tradition or with imprisonment and slavery. Similarly, the artist questions the marks left by institutions (aptly portrayed by logos), essentially touching on the duality that Tony Bennett posed in The Exhibitionary Complex. It is suggested that the museum, or any institution for that matter, controls a system that does not only entail objects on display, but it also controls the people, the visitors, and the script in which we all take part – not unlike Foucault’s carceral system, as Bennett reminds us.