MARINA ABRAMOVIC: The Artist is Present
(directed by Jeffrey Dupre & Matthew Akers, 2002)
**** (out of 5)
> This is a deeply affecting documentary about this pioneering New York performance artist, and her brilliant retrospective at the New York Museum of Modern Art. It’s a beautiful film about how deeply we affect one another just by BEING THERE.
. This fascinating artist hired 30 performers to recreate “historical” performances from her past, while she undertook a startling new piece that may sound silly or lightweight to some, but actually runs very deep indeed: For three months she sat in a square of light facing an empty chair all day long. The public was invited to sit opposite her and share eye contact- just BEING together in the space with no words or touch exchanged. Jaded New Yorkers starved for real human contact flocked to the performance, throngs coming every day- even camping out overnight in front of the museum to get a prime viewing spot. Her former life and performance partner returns to support her in this grueling, physically and emotionally taxing discipline, and he’s a wonderful character to watch, delightful to listen to.
. As someone who loves to study the many gyrations of the human face, watching the montage of participants sit in that chair and share the moment with this great artist was powerful indeed. Many were moved to tears by the experience. I was. This woman knows what she’s doing, articulately making the case for performance as art, despite the bafflement of art purists and doubters. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more fascinating portrait of a living artist.
> If you are at all interested in the boundaries of what constitutes “art” or in the invisible connections that all people share- SEE THIS FILM!
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