(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Matthew Placek’s “130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramovic,” a 3D “moving portrait,” goes on view at the Second Ward Foundation on Friday, June 10. The immersive installation remains on view at the former Charles Williams School building, now a multi-purpose arts center, through Sunday, June 26.
“130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramovic” is artist Matthew Placek’s debut work in his series of 3D video portraits. The moving portraits extend Placek’s ongoing pursuit to immortalize his subjects’ past, present, and future in a single composition. Shot in one take and without dialogue, these short films offer rare, uninterrupted moments with artists as they interact with surroundings meaningful to each of them.
3D cinematography enhances the intimacy of the vignettes, further collapsing the space between the viewer and the subjects’ essential natures. At the core of Placek’s artistic practice is a considered admiration for his sitters.
In “130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramovic,” Placek forges an honest depiction of the artist’s creative and emotional energy. For this piece and throughout the series, Placek’s close personal relationship with his subjects and their work inform the authenticity of the moving portraits. Placek sets Abramovic in the center of an expansive, crumbling room that will become the Marina Abramovic Institute, a space serving as the performance artist’s legacy. Both are exposed, strong, and marked with history. As the camera pans out, figure and environment fuse, invoking the arc of the artist’s life, her transitional state, and the promise of renewal.
Groups of four people will be admitted into Second Ward’s recently restored auditorium every 15 minutes. Amidst an immersive soundscape, visitors will be permitted to explore the ground floor spaces of the former elementary school. Surrounding the auditorium are four rooms frozen in time that previously served as classrooms. These spaces are experiencing their own rebirth to become galleries for future exhibitions. Four individual viewing stations provide a full stereoscopic one-on-one screening of “130919 • A Portrait of Marina Abramovic.”
The work premiered at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2013 to much acclaim as a site-specific installation in the National YoungArts “Jewel Box” building, and was later presented at the National Monument Fort Jay on Governors Island in September of 2015. The film was an official selection of numerous film festivals including the Sundance Film Festival’s “New Frontiers,” the Toronto International Film Festival and the AFI Festival in Los Angeles.
The video portraits are created in an edition of five and a 50” x 60” C-print in an edition of eight.
Born in Ohio, Matthew Placek relocated to New York City in 1997 to pursue his interests in photography, video, and installation. His commitment to capturing presence, whether as a sense of place, the passage of time, and/or the relationships between people, has led to his multimedia output. His practice is durational and also engaged with the archive. Of primary concern to Placek is negotiating uninterrupted concentration from both his viewers and subjects, which he does through expanding the formal and conceptual notions of portraiture.
Placek has cultivated his interests in the performing and fine arts through collaborating with notable contemporary artists such as Marina Abramovic, Julian Schnabel, David Salle, Vanessa Beecroft, Richard Prince, Brice Marden, Cindy Sherman, James Ivory, and Yoko Ono. His individual and collaborative work has been exhibited in the U.S. and abroad at The Museum of Modern Art New York, The Kitchen, Deitch Projects, Sundance, Toronto Film Festival, Mary Boone Gallery, and Galleria Lia Rumma.
The work, originally created in the town of Hudson, will be installed in the Second Ward Foundation’s ground floor at 71 North 3rd Street. The exhibition is free and open to the public Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 6pm, and by appointment.
Located in the Hudson Valley, Second Ward occupies the former Charles Williams School in Hudson, N.Y. Designed by M.F. Cummins and completed in 1924, the building originally accommodated 480 elementary school students. It is now being repurposed into a cultural insitution including an education center, auditorium and art galleries. The foundation also loans art work from its collection to regional, national and international institutions.