Marina Abramovic (Belgrade, 1946), a pioneer in the art of performance since the seventies, uses her body to provoke emotions in the viewer, who in turn becomes a key piece of her work.
This artist is starting to reap the fruits of her art so long ignored, case in point is the documentary, Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present, directed by Mateo Akers and released this summer in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. The film will be exhibited all over the world during the next months.
For one hour and forty five minutes, the documentary exposes the preparations and incidences of her performance of the same tittle, presented at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 2010. During ninety consecutive days, hundreds or thousands of people watched how the Serbian artist sat in a room at MoMA, while members of the public sat in silence in front of her chair, looking at her, observing her, penetrating her aura, and allowing her to penetrate theirs.
Without a doubt, a critical moment in the film is when German artist Ulay sits in front of her. It was with Ulay that she initiated her artistic work and first experiments. Between 1975 and 1988 they were lovers and worked together. After their love faded, they separated and didn’t see each other until they sat, face to face, at MoMA.
Is it hard for the contemporary man to live and feel his emotions? That may be the reason that makes the viewer go through a transformation when he/she sits in front of Abramovic. What is it that Marina Abramovic searches in the eyes of so many people? Or even better, What has she found? Perhaps she found duality, and that is why she elicits such fascination. ■