This feature-length documentary film follows the artist as she prepares for what may be the most important moment of her life: a major retrospective of her work 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?'Written by
By Zhurbin, Lev (as Lev 'Ljova' Zhurbin) See more »
Art For Heart's Sake
I don't pretend to know the inner realm of performance art; each creative genre has its own secret system of valuation. What struck me most about Marina as an artist in general, though, is her ability to rise above everything and dedicate herself to the truth as she sees it.
It is incredibly difficult to sit and look directly into someone's eyes, whether a stranger or your most intimate partner. Most of us go days without doing this; try it yourself and see (pun intended). There was no doubt a significant exchange of oxytocin (a feel-good hormone) between her and the hundreds of thousands of people who sat across from her and partook in the social experiment (in fact, it seemed to me to be more of a social experiment than performance art, but again, that's just labels). I don't think anyone would argue that there was a lot of mental energy being exchanged, and as we learn more about the brain through ongoing studies, I'm sure we'll realize that this artist is tapping into a futuristic version of ourselves communicating by energy and emotions only.
It also seemed very "zen" to me, and I noticed that at least one of her visitors was a Buddhist. In essence, she was performing a form of sitting meditation, and the three-day retreat that she insisted on for her fellow performance artists was very close to the spiritual practises of eastern philosophy.
I found the documentary very moving, startlingly refreshing, and a wonderful profile of a courageous, dedicated artist who is a true soul- seeker. The only critical comment I have is that I thought the other artists - the ones who valiantly took on her past tasks and who spent an equal number of hours being "tortured" into stillness - did not get much acclaim at the conclusion of the documentary. Bravo to all of them!
In conclusion, a documentary well worth watching, a woman worthy of our admiration, and an art perhaps emergent in its influences over society.
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