Anne Collier acknowledges the gap between her understanding of a pair of photographs of seascapes as “quasi-portraits” of her parents and the viewer’s understanding. In Reflection she positions herself in the image as a way of introducing the viewer to her history, moving from the hermetic to hermeneutic.
Below is an except from a conversation between Bob Nickas and Anne Collier regarding these works.
The Artist is Present
I’ll Be Your Mirror
Similarly, Marina Abramović presents another mirror device in The Artist is Present.
In this performance, Abramović sits in a chair for the duration of gallery hours. Opposite her is an empty chair. This empty chair can be viewed as the ellipsis.
What is clear is that the possibility of sitting with Marina has ignited in the public imagination the idea that one can do more than passively experience works of art, that one can be part of a work of art for as long as one is willing or able.
I have been told that museum visitors in general stand in front of art works for an average of 30 seconds. At MoMA, some have chosen to sit across from Marina for hours; one young woman sat for the entire length of a day’s performance, frustrating many others waiting their turn in line. Others have returned to sit multiple times. By rough estimate, visitors sit for an average of 20 minutes. (Arthur Danto)
That Which is Opposite the Ellipsis
A wonderful addition to Abramović’s work are Marco Anelli’s portraits of each person as they sit before the artist, in essence completing the work. These serve as one of the better descriptions I have seen of this work.
Note: all of the scanned passages, images, and citations in this post are from
Eco, Umberto. The Open Work. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1989.
Collier, Anne, Reid Shier, Robert Nickas, Jan Verwoert, and Mark Soo. Anne Collier. North Vancouver, B.C.: Presentation House Gallery, 2008.
Abramovic, Marina, Arthur Danto, and Chrissie Iles. Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present. New York: The Museum Of Modern Art, New York, 2010.