Struggling with mental health and identity is not who I am, but rather a piece of the puzzle of who I have become. More than anything I identify with being an artist, and being obsessed with exploring emotional intimacy. I want to create spaces where real dialogue about important things can happen, without the constraints of being polite. When people are able to meet on this level, inspiration and action become co-conspirators.
I love talking about what moves people. I love the fire of interest that lights up the body and mind of a person who is passionate about something. Art moves me in this way. It inspires me to do things that in retrospect, don’t always make sense.
There is no living artist who inspires me more than Marina Abramovic. The intensity of her dedication to self-knowledge through artistic exploration is formidable. When she speaks, she is commanding. Without exception, I feel inspired in my entire collective when I reflect on her body of work.
The experience of performance art happens on several levels. There is the actual real time performance, which is a dance between artist and participant. On another level, there is an audience experiencing this intimate moment live, and and creating a collective energy from the event. Thanks to digital technology, these performances can now be accessible online to all, allowing the art piece to live as long as technology and human interest can support it. This is the living legacy of this piece of performance art; a moment of our emotional evolution captured and preserved.
The Artist Is Present is a documentary about her 2012 performance art at the Museum of Modern Art. For me it is a revelation in the deep intimacy of the symbiotic relationship between performer and audience. It is a collaborative, interactive experience if you wish to engage and follow the artist on a mutual journey through the eyes and towards the soul.
Some seemed raptured, and some seemed perplexed, and in these reactions we see the revelatory experience of being emotionally mirrored by another. On many occasions Abramovic is able to engage the emotional frequency of the sitter and evoke some sort of release of emotion or feeling. There are smiles, sighs and tears. There are also sitters who do not respond in any discernable way.
The most satisfying encounter for me was the emotional reunion of Marina and her own mirror, fellow artist, collaborator and former partner Ulay.
You don’t need to know the story between them to follow the emotional story of their sitting together. There is deep respect, love, wariness, distance and healing in the silent exchange that takes place between them. It is the meeting of two powerful artists and it recounts the weight of the history between their two resonances.
I understand this weight. I understand the deep relief in being seen and respected and validated. It is the acknowledgment that what was created was important, nothing was in vain, and in the end, the art was worth the trouble it caused.
[Bucket List Goals: Meet Marina Abramovic and attend her Institute]Tags: Art Imitates Life, Emotional Intimacy, guts over fear, Marina Abramovic, The Artist Is Present, vulnerability