I’ve wanted to see this film since it was released last year. And now finally, on a lazy Sunday the time came for Marian Abramovic: The Artist is Present. And it was definitely worth the wait!
Marina Abramovic is one of my favorit artists or rather one of those I am fascinated with. I remember first hearing about her performances in my first semester in uni and researching more and more when I got home. Now this film took me into the heart, brain and passion of Marina Abramovic. The film follows Abramovic in planning her big retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It shows how she prepares the young artist who will „re-perform“ her early works (think naked couple in a doorway or person underneath a skelletel), how she plans the placing of the different videos and pictures and visits her sick in bed. But the core are the preparations, discussions and later execution of the 3 months long performance, that will be the highlight of the exhibition. During the opening hours of the museum Abramovic will nonstop sit on a chair in the atrium and look those, who take a seat in front of her directly in the eyes.
The queues for these „sessions with Marina“ become incredibly long (people began camping outside the museum the day before) and it is fascinating to witness what the focussed gaze of the artist causes and moves in some visitors.
The Artist is Present shows all of this very calmly and clearly, there aren’t any texts, no lower thirds or voice over and yet one understands everything. This film manages to do what Abramovic’s art has perfected, creating an experience for the audience that creates a certain intimacy that isn’t explainable in words and descriptions but needs to be experienced to be understood.
Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (D: Matthew Akers, USA 2012)