(Source: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2073029/ )
On Monday 27th October, we had the first film club of the year. The film that we all watched was called The Artist is Present, a documentary by Marina Abramovic a performance artist whose career spans 4 decades, who wanted to put to rest the ultimate question, How is this (performance art) Art?
The film starts by putting into context the project the Abramovic is working on. This project is an exhibition being held at the MoMa in New York. We are put into the film 5 months before the show to explore the thought process and preparation put into the exhibition. Abramovic wants to do an exhibition of the work where she will show some of her greatest achievements in the art world. The final piece of her exhibition would feature her connecting with the public who have come to see the show hence the title, The Artist is Present. In the film we see the enduring preparation towards this endevour, through not only her eyes but those of her team, her ex husband Ulay, who she used to create with and her performers who have had to go through extensive 3 months training to be ready to perform her pieces at her show. This documentary highlights the ups and downs of not only creating a performance piece but also life as we see Abramovic going through lots of emotional stages as she reconnects with her past. The last half an hour of the film is purely dedicated to her final exhibitions and the reactions of the public towards her and her pieces. Having not known the artist before watching the film, the last half an hour enthralled me and I could not take my eyes away from the screen, the piece itself is extremely powerful even though up to this point I was confused about exactly her aim for the piece. It amazed me how many people she connected with and had an emotional impact on throughout this process and in her final work. She is clearly a very influential woman.
Overall I really enjoyed watching this film and I learnt a lot about the art of performance art which I have never explored before. I think Marina’s influential position in the art world especially with an outstanding 4 decade careers is so inspiring. I did not think that I would get so emotionally attached to the film at the end and even I surprised myself by my reaction to the film. I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who has never explored performance art because it is a real eye opener!