Marina Abramovic Documentary Screens At Sundance

The mother of performance art’s anticipated Utah preview

The Sundance Film Festival which runs from 19 – 29th January is presenting an in-depth documentary on the artist Marina Abramovic. The filmmakers Jeff Dupre and Matthew Akers, followed the “mother of performance art” around the world for one year from Paris fashion shows, to India’s Swaswara center, to her epic retrospective last year at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  The film will air on HBO next year and will screen at major film festivals throughout 2012. The documentary revisits Abramovic’s early years in Yugoslavia (her parents were partisan fighters during the second world war), when young Marina paraded nude for art student peers with a five-pointed star (the symbol of the Communist Party) carved into her belly. Footage also shows her performing violent slap-fests with her former partner Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen). Seductive, fearless, and outrageous, Marina Abramović has been redefining performance art for nearly 40 years. Using her body as a medium, and pushing herself beyond her physical and mental limits, Abramović creates emotionally provocative work that transgresses boundaries and expands consciousness. She is, quite simply, one of the most compelling artists of our time.

 The Sundance Festival selects 200 films for exhibition from more than 9,000 submissions. More than 50,000 people attend screenings in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah. In addition to discovering filmmaking’s newest talent through the Festival’s program of documentary, dramatic, and short films, Festivalgoers experience live music performances, panel discussions with leading filmmakers and industry figures, cutting-edge media installations, parties celebrating the Festival community.

Abramović herself is a Sundance alum, having contributed a segment to the erotic/art omnibus project DESTRICTED (2006). Her collaboration with Akers marks his documentary feature directorial debut, but he produced LOCKDOWN, USA, which premiered at Tribeca, and was the cinematographer of previous HBO documentaries including Sundance alum HEIR TO AN EXECUTION (2004) and ELAINE STRITCH: AT LIBERTY. Producer Jeff Dupre is also a Sundance alum – his directorial debut OUT OF THE PAST (1998) won the Documentary Audience Award. Dupre’s producing partner Maro Chermayeff recently directed MANN V. FORD for HBO and is the founder and chair of SVA’s MFA Program in Social Documentary.

 Abramović and the Museum of Modern Art, filmmaker Matthew Akers has created a visually luscious and mesmerizing cinematic journey that takes us inside the world of radical performance. Akers brings us close to the curators, collaborators, lovers, and admirers of the artist. The filmmaker also mines Abramović’s creative process and remarkably grants audiences the coveted experience of sitting across from the artist during the most important show of her career. MARINA ABRAMOVIC THE ARTIST IS PRESENT is both an intimate portrait and an experiential encounter with an astonishingly magnetic, endlessly intriguing woman who draws no distinction between life and art.

Marina Abramović was born in 1946 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Since the beginning of her career, during the early 1970s where she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Abramović has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. The body has been both her subject and medium. Exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in the quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. As a vital member of the generation of pioneering performance artists that includes Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci and Chris Burden, Abramović created some of the most historic early performance pieces and continues to make important durational works.

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