Art, film June 15, 2012 By Sophie Mollart

(L-R) Marina Abramović & Matthew Akers. Photo Credit: David Smoler

(L-R) Marina Abramović & Matthew Akers. Photo Credit: David Smoler

but the audience too; even the centurion-like security guards were visibly moved, even returning on their days off to sit with Marina. Gallery-goers would watch intently as no twitch, no subtle perspiration went unnoticed. Blogs are dedicated to logging each participant that sat, reciprocating the unwavering gaze of Abramovic; many shed tears, some reduced to sobs.

As his initial skepticism diminished, Akers, too, couldn’t help but feel impacted by the ambience in the atrium: “I thought this could be a minor blip in her oeuvre, that it would really serve as a catalyst to get people to go upstairs and look at the work; I really wasn’t sure, because I thought it would be so simple that it would go unnoticed. I wasn’t aware of the charged space that her sitting there, everyone participating, watching, would create it that room. My interpretation of that simplicity was misleading. There was just some sort of energy in that room. I liked being there, I was sort of drawn like a magnet to it – looking at everyone, looking at her, and these two people, looking at each other.”

As the physical, emotional strain started to wear, many in Abramovic’s camp became concerned she wouldn’t last the full ninety day duration: “When she was doing the performance, I say that we joked around but it was limited, I went home with her and got to film her, but it was definitely different than prior to the performance. She had a very different, almost monk-like atmosphere. She tried to be in silence as much as possible. It became looser and looser as the performance went on, you could feel her energy change as the end was coming, but she definitely tried to maintain a pretty serious tone throughout.”

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