September 25 – 26, 2014
130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramović is artist Matthew Placek’s debut work in his series of 3D video portraits. The moving portraits extend Placek’s ongoing pursuit to immortalize his subjects’ past, present, and future in a single composition. Shot in one take and without dialogue, these short films offer rare, uninterrupted moments with subjects as they interact with symbolic surroundings. 3D cinematography enhances the intimacy of the vignettes, further collapsing the space between the viewer and the subjects’ essential natures. At the core of Placek’s artistic practice is a considered admiration for his sitters.
In a culture where attention spans are short and the cell phone portrait is pervasive, Placek cultivates a moment with the sitter that lasts longer than a glance. 3D cinematography offers a means to further break down barriers between camera, viewer, and subject. The painstaking preparation and detail the process requires is felt in the effortless intimacy of the final composition. In the absence of cuts, these one take moving portraits encourage uninterrupted concentration from both viewer and subject, opening up the possibility for a deeper connection.
In 130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramović, Placek forges an honest depiction of the artist’s creative and emotional energy. For this piece and throughout the series, Placek’s close personal relationship with his subjects and their work inform the authenticity of the moving portraits. Placek sets Abramović in the center of an expansive, crumbling room that will become the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), a space serving as the performance artist’s legacy. Both Marina’s nude body and her surroundings are exposed, grounded, and marked with history. As the camera pans out, figure and environment fuse, invoking the arc of the artist’s life, her state of transition, and the promise of renewal. Placek commissioned an original score based upon an ancient Greek song, translated and recorded by Serbian singer Svetlana Spajić and arranged by music producer Thomas Bartlett that recalls the cycle of birth, maturity, decay, and rebirth.
130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramović is installed in the magazine, cellar-like ammunition and gunpowder storage space of Fort Jay, a historic fortification that is part of the Governors Island National Monument. Since its 1624 settlement by the Dutch, Governors Island has evolved from a colonial outpost, sawmill, game preserve, two centuries as a military installation and now a destination for public recreation, education and culture. With the 2003 transfer of the Island to the people of New York and the National Park Service, the public has been exposed to a wealth of history and numerous introductions to the future of art and culture since its first public visitors in 2009. Through technology and architecture, Placek asks the public to consider their own ideas of transformation, death and rebirth.
Groups of 6 people will descend the ramp to the magazine every 15 minutes. The exploration of this site, normally closed to the public will be accompanied by a 7 minute sound installation reminiscent of the film’s score. The meditative violin score will usher each visitor to a private space of their own where they will view the 7 minute film in full stereoscopic 3D. Free and open to the public.
This work and its installation was made possible by the generous support of The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, The National YoungArts Foundation, and Executive Producers VISIONAIRE Film. The installation is made possible in part by the generous support of The Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ has pioneered performance as a visual art form since the 1970s, using her body as both her subject and medium. Exploring her physical and mental limits, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. From 1975 to 1988, Abramović collaborated on a series of seminal works with German artist Ulay. She has presented her work at major institutions in the U.S. and Europe, including the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, 1985; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1990; Neue National Galerie, Berlin, 1993, the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, 1995; Documenta VI, VII and IX, Kassel, 1977, 1982 and 1992; and the Venice Biennale, 1976 and 1997, for the latter of which she received the Golden Lion for Best Artist. Most recently, she performed "The House With The Ocean View" at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York in 2002, and "7 Easy Pieces" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2005. In 2010, The Museum of Modern Art in New York gave Abramović her first major U.S. retrospective, in which she performed for more than 700 hours in The Artist is Present.” The Life and Death of Marina Abramović directed by Robert Wilson premiered and toured Europe in 2011 and was performed in 2013 at the Luminato Festival in Toronto and at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Her collaboration with the Paris Opera for the restaging of Bolero premiered in May 2013. In 2014, Abramović will open the Marina Abramović Institute for the Preservation of Performance Art (MAI) in Hudson, New York. MAI is a foundry for performance and education, hosting workshops lectures, residencies and research projects. MAI aims to foster collaborations among art, science, technology and spirituality within the context of long durational work and the Abramović Method.
MATTHEW PLACEK moved to New York City from Ohio in 1997 to attend the School of Visual Arts. Since then he has cultivated his interests in the performing and fine arts through collaborating with many notable contemporary artists, such as Marina Abramović, Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Vanessa Beecroft, Richard Prince, Brice Marden, Cindy Sherman, James Ivory and Yoko Ono. His individual and collaborative work has been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad at MoMA, Deitch Projects, Mary Boone Gallery, The Kitchen and Galleria Lia Rumma. He is a frequent contributor to such publications as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vogue, and Visionaire. A Portrait of Marina Abramović is the first of an ongoing body of “moving portraits” by Matthew Placek. In these films, Placek considers his close personal relationship with his subjects in an effort to tell their story without dialogue. With a sensitive and exploratory examination, Placek attempts to show the past present and future of his sitters. The use of one-take 3D cinematography opens a tangible window into the lives of his subjects without interruption. The portraits are created in an edition of 6.
130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramović
A 3D film and sound installation by Matthew Placek
September 25 – 26, 2014
FORT JAY, A GOVERNORS ISLAND NATIONAL MONUMENT, NEW YORK CITY