Listening to the Radio in the idle way that I do when I am cooking or doing something else I heard someone say that in his opinion beauty would be more highly valued and sought after over the next five years. I found my self thinking about this in relation to seeing a video of Marina Abramovic preparing for an exhibition in 2010 at MOMA in New York. At the age of 64 her energy and single mindedness are extraordinary. Her work moving and disturbing.
The video showed clips of some of her earlier performance pieces many of which involved self flagellation which brutally pushed her body to extremes. The main body of the video however followed the planning and performance of The Artist is Present. This was a work beguilingly simple yet of epic proportions.
Performed over three months the artist sat almost motionless in a chair for over seven hours and invited people to come one at a time and sit opposite her for a few minutes. During that time in silence the artist and the viewer would exchange gazes. The video showed that for many of the participants this was a deeply emotional and moving experience.
There seemed to be in this work a desire by Abramovic to make a vital connection between herself and those who took part. The almost animal ferocity of her earlier works provided a stark contrast with this later work where there is an essence of beauty both visual as well as visceral.
I feel challenged by that complex mix of beauty and ugh! In my lack, my lack of courage I will learn from this mistress of her art.