Let’s never forget that the majority of an “artistic experience”
isn’t necessarily the stuff of it, rather it’s the experience… that which leaves no other artifact than the memory of feeling. In The artist is present
, Marina Abramovic
sets up a chair across from another at the Museum of Modern Art. You, the viewer, are invited to sit across from her for one minute and see what comes of it.
Abramvic points to the less-talked-about aspect of viewing art – the internal memories, what it brings up for the viewer, what the viewer brings to the art itself. Essentially, art is a discourse that takes place in a specific time, place, century, and point in history. Careful artists and activists will think carefully about these choices, particularly those working on public space, because these elements are at work on you, whether you are actively considering them or not.
The backstory to this particular project is that a long lost love of sorts finds her and they have the most riveting, silent, exquisite exchange. I try to remember this: great art can, with intentional choices and keen awareness, be the product of a table, two chairs, and a well selected public space.