Art, film June 15, 2012 By Sophie Mollart

Marina Abramović & Matthew Akers. Photo Credit: David Smoler

Marina Abramović & Matthew Akers. Photo Credit: David Smoler

verging on the point of being manic. She loves the superficial; she loves fashion and gossip. I would go upstate and she’d be listening to death metal, or talking about Lady Gaga. I thought – are you serious, this is the great Marina? She has more energy than anyone I’ve ever met. I don’t even have a fraction of the energy she has. It’s hard to really pinpoint and get to the heart of who she is. Is she the fun loving Marina that you hang out with and listen to death metal with, or is she this serious, ascetic artist that sits down in a chair and does nothing. I can’t think of a single moment outside of that performance that I sat in silence with her.”

Unlike Illusionist David Blaine, who appears briefly in the film – eating a wineglass, no less – Abramovic’s work is based entirely within the reality of her own physical boundaries; her body is her sole box of tricks, leaving the margin of error as potentially catastrophic: “I didn’t have the sense that this was going to immediately be a sensation. I was nervous as a filmmaker. These performances are not predictable, which might make a good recipe for some interesting dramatic moments, but that said, she told me she was going to be sitting in a chair, so I was thinking – is this going to be the most boring film in the world? She’s going to be doing nothing. Even Marina and Klaus (Biesenbach, chief curator at MoMa) were not sure that she chair across from her would always be full, they thought that there would be large periods of time that no-one would sit. They had no idea that there would be a line right from the start.”

The line not only remained occupied, but the show developed a large following of serious devotees; one man sitting with Abramovic for the full seven hours, then returning to sit a following twenty times. A seemingly collective intimacy evolved between not just the participants,

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