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Marina Abramovic : the artist is present


Documentary - 8:00 am - Palais of Beaux Arts - Lille

Seductive, fearless, and outrageous, Marina Abramović has been redefining what art is for nearly forty years. Using her own body as a vehicle, pushing herself beyond her physical and mental limits--and at times risking her life in the process--she creates performances that challenge, shock, and move us. Through her and with her, boundaries are crossed, consciousness expanded, and art as we know it is reborn. She is, quite simply, one of the most compelling artists of our time.

She is also a glamorous art-world icon, a lightning rod for controversy, and a myth of her own making. She is most certainly unlike anyone you have ever met before.
The feature-length documentary film MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ THE ARTIST IS PRESENT takes us inside Marina's world, following her as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major retrospective of her work, taking place at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. To be given a retrospective at one of the world's premiere museums is, for any living artist, the most exhilarating sort of milestone. For Marina, it is far more: it is the chance to finally silence the question she has been hearing over and over again for four decades: "But why is this art?"

The mounting of the retrospective and its three-month exhibition at MoMA is the narrative spine of MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ THE ARTIST IS PRESENT, and over the course of the film, we return again and again to the museum. There, as the "set" is built for the new work that will be the centerpiece of show, Marina sketches her ambitious plans: all day, every day, from early March until the end of May, 2010, she will sit at a table in the museum's atrium, in what she describes as a "square of light." Members of the audience will be invited to join her, one at a time, at the opposite end of the table. There will be no talking, no touching, no overt communication of any kind. Her objective is to achieve a luminous state of being and then transmit it--to engage in what she calls "an energy dialogue" with the audience.

Elevating traditional documentary techniques with an artistic gloss befitting its subject, MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ THE ARTIST IS PRESENT is by no means a typical "art film." With total access granted by Abramović and The Museum of Modern Art, MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ THE ARTIST IS PRESENT is instead a mesmerizing cinematic journey inside the world of radical performance, and an intimate portrait of an astonishingly magnetic, endlessly intriguing woman who draws no distinction between life and art.

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