19 minutes





In a single, unbroken shot, Marina Abramović surveys her artistic evolution

This 2012 portrait of Marina Abramović features the celebrated conceptual artist staring down a camera that, in a single unbroken tracking shot, pulls out from an extreme close-up on her face before pushing back in. Both an artist profile and a work of art, the production evokes her famed performance piece The Artist Is Present (2010), in which she sat motionless in the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City for hours at a time, silently gazing into the eyes of the visitors who sat across from her. Here, however, the audience isn’t left to fill the void of silence, as Abramović details what led her from painting, to experimentation with sound, to using her body as a subject, to, ultimately, a fascination with time. This final point is explored via both her words and the form of the piece itself.

In Abramović’s retelling of her story, her art is inextricable from her childhood growing up in the former Yugoslavia, where she was born to atheistic parents dedicated to the communist cause, and cared for by religiously devout grandparents. This contradiction forms the foundation of Abramović’s’s life in art before yet another one emerges over the course of the piece – her intense, detailed planning for the future exists beside an enduring openness to change and personal revelation.

Video by Art21

Producer: Susan Sollins