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Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present Posted on September 28th, 2012 in Musings.

A pioneer of performance art, Marina Abramovic (born Yugoslavia, 1946) began using her own body as the subject, object, and medium of her work in the early 1970s. The self-described “Grandmother of Performance Art”, Abramovic is known to push her body to physical extremes in pursuit of her artistic goals.

For the exhibition Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, The Museum of Modern Art’s first performance retrospective, Abramovic sat for seven hours, six days a week, for three months staring silently into the eyes of whomever took possession of the chair opposite her. Over the course of the exhibit Abramovic sat motionless for over 700 hours, and an estimated 750,000 museum-goers sat across from here gazing back into her eyes and becoming participants in the artwork themselves.

HBO recently released a documentary, directed by Matthew Akers, that documents this powerful exhibit and the work that led up to its debut. With interviews from friends, collaborators, and the artist herself, this film provides an in-depth view into one of the most inspired minds of our generation. Trust me when I tell you this is essential viewing.

A few of Marina’s words that inspired me from the documentary:

The proposition is to empty yourself and be in present time! put your mind here and now. Something opens…

With performance you have to have an emotional approach. Direct energy with audience and performer.

Artist is warrior! …Stamina to conquer not only new territory but himself and his weaknesses.

Not important what you are doing but which state of mind you are doing what you are doing.” 


  • BKMagnolia

    this really was an amazing documentary. to be an OPEN vessel to receive whatever feelings her visitors had to give must have been exhausting, beautiful and uplifting. i cried FAT tears when she sat across from her fellow artist/ex lover/past muse. very inspirational to us creative types… are we committed enough?

  • C.

    This is beyond moving! Imagine we could just sit across from another human being and look into their eyes. No words but to really see and feel them through our eyes. gorgeous!

  • DawnAlexa

    YAASSSS! I was going to say moving… but I will simply say… Significant!

  • Christina Denise

    Its amazing how something so simple as acknowledging another person’s presence by looking them eye to eye can shake and move someone to their core, I LOVED this documentary and had never heard of Marina prior to, definitely made a lasting impression on me.

  • Dori

    Marina Abramovic is pure brilliant. I love the fact you like her too.

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