News that there will be a 3-D video portrait of performance art great Marina Abramovic playing in Miami during Art Basel in Miami Beach next month may provoke compulsive eye-rolling for many, as it did initially for me, but artist Matthu Placek’s six-minute, one-shot short — in which Abramovic appears nude and ghostly pale inside her under-construction performance art center — is in fact very beautiful and surprisingly moving. Abramovic’s intense energy and piercing, tear duct-opening stare translate uncannily well to 3-D.
Placek’s short film, “A Portrait of Marina Abramovic” (2013), will make its public debut in Miami next month during ABMB at the “Jewel Box,” a modernist pavilion in Wynwood whose all-glass exterior is clad in stained-glass windows that fill the space with color. At a recent preview screening in New York, Placek described the series of musical cycles through which visitors will move up the building’s staircase, around its interior, and into the screening area. The space is currently in a raw state similar to that of the future Marina Abramovic Institute in Hudson, which Placek captures spectacularly in an epic crane shot that makes sensitive use of the 3-D format. The soundtrack, a splendid translation of an ancient Greek song performed by Serbia’s Svetlana Spajic, amplifies the film’s power.
The National YoungArts Foundation — who, with Visionaire, co-produced the film — is making over the Jewel Box building with a design by Frank Gehry, but in the meantime it will host screenings of Placek’s film every day during ABMB (December 4-7) for free, every 15 minutes, beginning at 6pm. “I originally wanted it to be from dusk until dawn,” Placek said at the preview screening, “but we’ll probably have to shut it down a little earlier — maybe 3am.”
“A Portrait of Marina Abramovic” screens nightly, December 4-7, in the Jewel Box at the YoungArts campus, 2100 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Photo by the author.)