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Review: Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Matthew Akers's provocative documentary
By PETER KEOUGH  |  August 28, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

Matthew Akers's provocative documentary opens with an image we don't see that often: a long close-up of a human face. It's that of the performance artist of the title, who is in the midst of an ongoing project at MoMA. For eight hours a day, six days a week, and three months straight she sat motionless in a chair in a gallery as thousands of visitors one-by-one sat in front of her and looked into her eyes. The effect is powerful. Many weep as years of repressed pain lift. For that experience alone this film should be seen: it demonstrates how cinema can actually make the artist seem present, offering an empathetic fellow consciousness that mirrors one's soul. It also succeeds as a brisk account of Abramovic's career as a performance artist, a provocateur who uses her body — often naked, lacerated, or pushed to its physical limits — to compel viewers into awareness of their own physical existence.

  Topics: Reviews , Performance Art, documentary, Art
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