Four years ago, artist Marina Abramovic sat in the Museum of Modern Art for 716 hours and 30 minutes for a work called “The Artist Is Present.” Abramovic offers her Brief but Spectacular take on the value of good performance art, personal reflection and finding your place in the world.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Now our regular feature Brief But Spectacular.
This week, we hear from artist Marina Abramovic, who tonight shares her thoughts about performance and interactions with audiences.
MARINA ABRAMOVIC, Artist: To me, the performance is one of the most transformative forms of art.
If the performance is good, it can really change your life. And if it’s bad, you just want to run away from it. I like to work with the audience. I like to push them. I like to take them out of their comfort zone and to bring them new experience.
If you want really to connect with the public, you have to show your true self. And any human being is not perfect. And every human have the parts they like to hide, especially the parts they’re ashamed of. A human being doesn’t need too much. A human being just has to understand his own purpose in this planet.
We are so interested in new gadgets and are so interested to sit in the front of the computer, Twitter, or be busy with Facebook, that we don’t realize that maybe sitting at the volcano, or in the front of waterfall, or just in the ocean, or just sitting in the chair quietly and looking out through the window sometimes is more important, more reflective and more vivid to the conscience of your own existence.
“The Artist Is Present” was a very simple performance, where I had a retrospective in MoMA and I wanted to really be present for the entire performance, for the entire exhibition, which is three months, a total of 716 hours and 30 minutes just sitting there. And it was very emotional work. And it changed everything. After I stand up from this chair, I was different.
My name is Marina Abramovic. This is my Brief But Spectacular take on art, life and beyond.
GWEN IFILL: You can see our other Brief But Spectaculars — I can’t say it the way she does — on our Facebook page.