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Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present
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The extent and nature of Abramovic's output, her use of her own body as a canvas on and through which art is created, has caused a series of sensations from her 1970s work in her native Belgrade through her 2010 career retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art. That show, which included a sensational three-month performance viewed by an estimated 750,000 people, is the focus of this film. Director-cinematographer Matthew Akers, whose background is largely shooting television documentaries, has followed the artist to several countries over a 10-month period, shooting hundreds of hours of footage, interviewed the key people in her creative life and assembled archival footage of some of the projects that made her famous.
The film documents Abramovic's earlier works, which include slamming herself into a wall, mutilating and flagellating herself, even driving a van in a circle for 16 hours, shouting numbers through a megaphone. As critic Arthur Danto says, Abramovic's work "directly and boldly challenges an audience." The artist adds that now that the question "Why is this art?" isn't being asked anymore, she finds, "I am missing it.Read more ›
I first saw it on cable and in the beginning I thought, "Oh gads what it this? This is weird. How can they call this art?"
I continued to watch it though and by the end tears flowed down my face as I understood.
I understood and accepted the women, the artist, and what she was trying to say. I also understood my own motivations in doing my own art. Marina Abramovic's dedication to what she was called to do, her art, her purpose, her work, are unmatched. She is transparent and yet elusive. What I mean by that is that she is not afraid to be seen, to be unopened and share pieces of her soul. And yet, who can ever truly understand another?
I watched the documentary on cable two more times, until it was no longer running and then knew I had to see it again, so I bought it. I watch and listen to it; feel it's presence; feel the her commitment and love for being an artist; as I do my own art. It is a companion to doing art in a way. I treasure this woman and all she has sacrificed in order to show me pieces of myself that I did not see before. Thank you Marina Abramovic.
performance art" and her hugely successful retrospective at New York's Museum of Modern Art'.
While her past history is never less then tremendously engrossing, the most powerful moments of the film are those
showing her new work, unveiled for the retrospective called 'The Artist is Present'. For 3 months, Ms. Abromovic simply
sat in a chair all day, taking no breaks, looking into the eyes of any museum guest who sat down opposite her. No
talk, and very little movement.
Yet these encounters are tremendously powerful, often moving both participants to tears (and some of us watching the film
as well). This is 'art' taken to it's most simple, naked level. Connection between two strangers, each coming away different
for the encounter.
While all this may sound dry and theoretic, the pure honest emotion and presence the 63 year old artist brings to her Herculean task make
watching the film anything but.
Meanwhile, the extras on the film allow you to learn a little more about the artist and her working methods.
Very much worth seeing.
I'd heard of Abramovic's show in New York on NPR, and was mystified at how such a simple act could bring participants to tears. Watching the film gave me a chance to experience the performance, and even second-hand it was moving to see how people reacted and fascinating to know the backstory of the piece, the artist, and those around her.
I'm a huge cynic when it comes to performance art, mostly because of the tendency to shock audiences more than challenge them, but the stillness and craft of this piece made me completely rethink these notions.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's the second best performance art by Marina Abramoivc. The first is, in my opinionion, is the scream with Ulay. Great buy!Published 2 months ago by harold
1970's f'lashback to the days of hard work to hoodwink public in narcistic solipsism.Published 4 months ago by Caroline W. Casey
Marina inspires you to have the courage to live your own truth. Whether you like her work or not, she is brilliant. The Artist is Present at the MOMa is brilliant! Loved it.Published 5 months ago by Michele Phillips
Having witnessed the performance in person I was very fascinated by the 'behind the scenes' that this documentary shows. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Lola66
wow. this book is very informative! reminds me of the her performance art all over the world.
the artist is really present!
I cannot describe how great a movie this is. Between the very interesting backstory of Marina Abramovic's long and embattled career, her love story with Ulay, her controversial and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Pete