Opening Program Installation Program 1   Program 2-3  Program 4-5 Program 6 Program 7 Program 8 Program 9   Program 10  Program 11 Program 12 Program 13 Program 14 Closing Ceremony

Program VIII:
Performance Art in Motion: Marina Abramovic / Meredith Monk

Balkan Baroque (63min, 35mm, 1999) France
Directed by Pierre Coulebeuff
Choreographer Marina Abramovic

Experimental fiction. The autobiography, both real and imaginary, of Marina Abramovic, Body Art artist. The film composes the life aesthetic of a woman in her era, with a personal history strongly marked by the Yugoslavia of Tito, everyday violence, the experience of physical and psychic limits... The voluntary evocation of the past makes something more secret, more intimate crop up: an unknown evolution that is embodied in fictions felt like authentic fragments of truth. Balkan Baroque jumps from one identity to another, from a true story to an imagination, from a dream to a ritual... - the language of the body often taking over from the word, interrupting it or, on the contrary, stimulating it. (All the images in the film are original, whether inspired by performances or purely imaginary).

Marina Abramovic was born in Belgrade (Yugoslavia) in 1946 and currently lives in New York. In the early 1970s she was part of the ‘body art’ movement. She uses her body as material in performances, ‘what touches the body, what allows the body and mind to attain a higher degree of awareness’. Between 1976-88 she has worked with her companion, Ulay and received an International Grand Prize, at the 47th Venice Biennale in 1997.

Filmmaker and artist, Pierre Coulibeuf was born in Elbeuf (France) in 1949 and currently lives in Paris. He has completed doctoral studies in Modern Literature. Coulibeuf's works lie within a research approach to contemporary creation. In a cross-disciplinary relation to film genres (fiction, experimental...), as well as to modes of presenting the image in motion (35mm projection, installation, photography), his ‘simulacra-films’ invent a place or a language on the borderline of the other arts, critiquing established forms and questioning representations of reality. Since 1987, he has made short and feature-length films based on the universes of Pierre Klossowski, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Marina Abramovic, Michel Butor, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Jan Fabre, Meg Stuart...

His films have been selected in many international film festivals (fiction, experimental, video art) ; his films are also exhibited in the contemporary art area. He has been artist invited in the International Pavillion, Bienniale of Contemporary Art of Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil 2005. His works are part of main public collections: Centre Pompidou, NBK Berlin, Media Art Sammlung Goetz, Munich, GAM, Torino. The Pompidou Center will organize a retrospective of his films in January 2007.

Filmmaker’s Note:
At the outset of the project, there was my encounter with a woman endowed with an exceptional physical presence. Marina was potentially an actress. Balkan Baroque takes its inspiration—in part—from performances by the artist (in particular, the performance piece Biography) but, in a more profound way, the film transposes the mental universe of Marina Abramovic.

Balkan Baroque is guided by several principles: discontinuity (black and white as structuring elements); ritualisation and frontality; fiction (and not the documentary).
The black of memory, from which arise the white images of the past (the artistic rituals). The images from memory are combined with fancies, fantasies and dreamlike waking images, as well as rituals of life (the kitchen, the dining room, the gymnasium...). The discontinuity of memory, which blends images from the past with imaginations, life rituals with artistic rituals. Depending on its visual component, the film becomes the equivalent of an ‘involuntary memory’, with its breaks, its oversights, its absence of chronology. Thus, one can consider the film of the image and the film of the chronological, narrative voice. (Thanks to the form of statement, the narrative voice gives rise to other images in the spectator’s mind.) The visual and sound components are autonomous and constitute the audio-visual image. But the visual image and the sound image communicate with each other in an underground manner, with numerous effects of resonance.

The performances are adapted — in other words, transformed by the cinematic point of view (the shot imposes its law; Marina Abramovic becomes an actress). In the film, they take on a mental appearance, like memory-images or insistent, shimmering images that suddenly force their way through, climb as far as awareness and dilate the present.

Balkan Baroque creates a character whose identity is multifaceted and continually inventing itself. In this sense, the film creates its own reality, standing ‘on the borderline’ between real and imaginary, without one’s truly knowing what is real and what is imaginary. Thanks to this distance, this interval, Marina Abramovic can appear behind multiple masks, scoff at the performance and constantly scramble her identity.

“Book of Days” (74min, 35mm, 1988)
Director/Music/Choreography: Meredith Monk

“I have never made a dance film per se, but the fact that my films are for the most part nonverbal and nonlinear in structure naturally relates them to an art from that speaks without words.” – Meredith Monk

“Book of Days” is a film about time, drawing parallels between the Middle Ages, a time of war, plague and fear of the Apocalypse, with our modern times of racial and religious conflict, AIDs, and the fear of nuclear annihilation.

Meredith Monk
has been performing since the mid-1960s, composing, choreographing, and performing her work both solo and in larger groups. She is equally noted for the quality of her voice and the way she uses it in speech and song, creating music for a capella voices. Other elements of her work are dance, ritual movement, lighting effects, and small props. In the slender genre of dance/video, Monk been cited for her skill and understanding of both mediums, and the tape Ellis Island, made with filmmaker Bob Rosen, has been praised as “one of the most stunning dance videos to date.”


Opening Program Installation Program 1   Program 2-3  Program 4-5 Program 6 Program 7 Program 8 Program 9   Program 10  Program 11 Program 12 Program 13 Program 14 Closing Ceremony

© Kinodance–Russia, 2006