In search of personal healing and artistic inspiration, Marina Abramovic travels through Brazil experiencing sacred rituals and exploring limits between art, immateriality and consciousness. How far will she go to create her work of art?
Marco Del Fiol
Dorothy W. Cooke,
Narcisa Cândido da Conceição
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Jean Michel Basquiat,
The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America's most influential and important industrial designers. Admired for their creations and fascinating as individuals, they have ... See full summary »
This feature-length documentary film follows the artist as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. To be given a retrospective at one of the world's premiere museums is, for any living artist, the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For Marina, it is far more - it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: 'But why is this art?' Written by
Artists have to be warrior. Have to have this determination and have to have the stamina to conquer not just new territory, but also to conquer himself, and his weeknesses. So it doesn't matter what kind of work you're doing as an artist, the most important is from what state of mind you're doing what you're doing.
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I remember when there were people going to MOMA in droves to sit across from some artist I'd never heard of. I heard people say it was a very moving experience. It sounded nuts to me. So I was curious to see if I could get a sense of what it was all about from this movie.
I suppose I did, a little bit. The movie is made by people who want to be a bit artsy about it all, with jump shots and some shaky camera-work, but it does give you the basics. Marina is a long-time performance artist who specializes in feats of endurance, like running repeatedly into a wall or sitting naked on a bicycle seat for hours. She is very sincere, very determined, and seems to be someone who lives her art. There are scenes of her with her ex-partner/lover in which she is driving and cooking dinner which give you a glimpse into the mundane aspects of life that even those living for their art experience.
Most of the second half of the movie is devoted to her three months sitting staring at people who stare back. You see how physically grueling the experience is, you see how moved many people are, and you say how insane things got, with people camping out all night, desperate to get in early enough to spend some time having a famous artist stare at them.
The movie doesn't really recreate the experience. It's rather glossy at times, with a soundtrack that I'm sure creates a different experience than what I assume was simply the buzz of the crowd and the noise from any video projections nearby.
I'm amazed that some people here said they were moved by this movie. It's an interesting view of a performance artist, offering occasional mild insights from her friends and giving some understanding of her approach.
I'm also surprised that some people expected more of this movie, like a complete investigation of her career, or questions into how performance art fits into the art world. The movie is called The Artist is Present, and it's focused on that show, and that piece, and it's by someone who clearly buys into performance artist (I've always thought this sort of thing was interesting but kooky). It's exactly the sort of documentary I would expect someone who is intrigued by Marina would be inclined to make.
The movie absolutely did not make me wish I'd gone up to MOMA to stare at her, although it makes me feel, just a little, that maybe I should have gone up to see the recreations of her previous pieces and take a quick peek at her face-offs. But it's not something I'm losing sleep over.
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