The Artist is Present / Therapy As Art



 A few days ago, I received an idea for this entry from a dear friend and monthly blog reader.  She shared the below YouTube video link with me about Marina Abramović, a Yugoslav Performance Artist who performed an exhibition entitled The Artist Is Present at the Museum of Modern Art in 2010.  


During this exhibition, Abramović sat immobile while visitors were invited to sit individually across from her.  The artist sat silent, immobile and maintained eye contact with each individual who participated.  The exhibition was an amazing 736 hours in length.  Participants were visibly and emotionally moved by their experiences with Abramović; many noted the intensity of the eye contact and simply being in the present moment.  The YouTube link captures the intense connection between Abramović and her former collaborator and lover, Ulay, during this presentation.


In a similar way, therapy can also be seen as an art form.  To me, the “art” of therapy is the collaborative work between the therapist and client, resulting in moments of clarity, of healing and even transformation.  It’s interesting that while most of us have any number of friends and family to share our problems with, there is something quite unique about being able to share oneself with a “stranger” who can provide a level of focus and objectivity .  In this age of technology where we heavily rely upon texting and emails to convey what’s happening in our lives, there is still no substitute for humans having face-to-face interactions and present moments with each other.