I had some perception of what to expect based on the media treatment of Abramovic as a mere provocateur, or worse.

But I also have an open mind. I decided to give the documentary 15 minutes. After 1 hour 45 minutes it was over and I was delightd.

Abramovic is one of if not the most important performance artists of all time. Of that I’m convinced.

The documentary deconstructs Abramovic’s work over the decades and then goes deep on the performance of The Artist is Present from MoMA where you will understand, ultimately, what her work is all about.

For the performance she bears witness to people. She acknowledges them with her gaze. Most react to what they see of themselves in her eyes. A few are centered enough to return Abramovic’s gaze.

The performer witnesses each individual participant she faces and art is in the reaction. The people in the queue or witnessing from the gallery see the art in the interaction. The participants each, individually, withess themselves in her eyes – and for some, its pretty clear no one has ever seen them before. Not really. Not truthfully. Their pain moves Abramovic to tears, but she does not lose any composure.

Really one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in a long time.

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