Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Marina Abramovic: Artist or Psychotherapist?

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 22, 2012

Marina Abramovic, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Abramovi%C4%87 a sixty-four year old performing artist, sat for three months at the Museum of Modern Art in an exhibit she called “The Artist is Present” which has been made into an independent film of the same title http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2073029/ . People lined up for hours to sit in her presence, without words. Some cried. Some felt love. Others were confused. I think she simulated the first psychotherapy session. The expectations of the individual “customer” were met with the physical appearance along with her nonverbal communication. This situation brought up surprising emotions for both Marina and the consumer. Since she worked in an art museum, her work is called performance art. Had she had an office in a building, her work would be called psychotherapy. This overlap between art and psychotherapy intrigues me. It is only the setting which changes the frame. Psychotherapy is often a creative process and art is frequently therapeutic.  Yet, no one thinks of Marina like a therapist, and no one calls me an artist. Yet, maybe the beauty of her work is that she has hit the outer edge of both processes. When her movie hits the local theatres, let me know what you think.

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