Conversation with Marco Del Fionel on Marina Abramovic In Brazil: The Space in Between

“When you have faith, there is no pain”- Marina Abramovic in Brazil: The Space In Between.

Marina Abramovic In Brazil: The Space In Between. Photo by Marco Anelli. © 2013

Photo by Marco Anelli. © 2013 Marco Anelli

At 70, the grandmother of performance art is more active than ever. She recently published a memoir, Walk Through Wall and a documentary, The Space in Between. This is a film about Abramović’s spiritual journey through Brazil in pursuit of what she calls “people and places of power” and the links between art and spirituality. The documentary reveals the artist’s research on sacred rituals and spiritual communities in the midst of the exuberant natural landscape of Brazil. Directed by Marco Del Fionel, Marina Abramovic In Brazil: The Space in Between is now available on Vimeo. Our Editor in Chief, Chintia Kirana in conversation with Director Marco Del Fiol talks about the journey, film, and Marina. 

C: How did this this project come into fruition?

M: I did a show with Paula Garcia, a Brazilian Performance Artist. In the beginning of 2012, Paula called me. She was very excited, because she was working with Marina. She told me they were working on a project in Brazil to research on spirituality. Spirituality and Art is my dearest subject, so I said, ‘Anything you need, call me’. In December 2012, she called me. They had financed the trip with Marina’s gallery in Brazil, Luciana Brittu and they were planning to do a documentary. I said, ‘Okay, let’s go!’

C: How exciting! How long did it take to finish the film?

M: It took us four years to wrap up everything, from the shooting to the movie release. During these three and a half years, Marina went to Brazil three times. The first time was this trip that we planned with Paula (2012-2013). We shot for forty days, 8,000 kilometers in Brazil. It is in the major part of the movie. After that, we edited a promo to find funds. 

C: In contrast with her first documentary The Artist is Present, The Space in Between creates a different tone. This movie resonates a deeper level of understanding of who Marina Abramovic is. Her celebrity status most of us are familiar with (thanks to the media) has been stripped. Marina is bare, Marina is raw, Marina is real.

M: When you addressed the film The Artist Is Present, I think they did a great job in the way that they introduced Marina. They introduced the concept of performance and her historical pieces. They did the dirty job. We felt free to not address Marina’s history, what is performance, and all those things. We had those historical clips, but it didn’t make sense to include it. This allowed us the freedom and creativity to create Space in Between. 

The whole situation, this tiny crew of four people in the movie traveling with Marina and her tiny crew became almost like a family. To make this kind of movie, you need two pillars: trust and generosity, and Marina is very generous. She trusted me from the beginning and this made the film possible—this trust and generosity. What we wanted most is to show the process of research, where ideas comes from, how Marina works. Her work is very mixed. It’s like she is Da Vinci and Mona Lisa at the same time. There is no distance between the art and the artist.

I wanted to present Marina in a wide range of her contradictory personalities. I wanted to, in a sense, deconstruct the glamorous Marina and show profane Marina, in the sense that Marina is not an idol in a pedestal. I wanted this film to be a very personal journey and in that sense I believe this kind of narrative is like Marina grabbing our hands and saying, “okay, come make this journey with me” but at a specific moment she releases your hand. It was important to establish this narrative as a diary, a very personal journal. This is one of the things I respect a lot from Marina because she is very intuitive and she really pays attention to the first idea. It’s like a thunder, and of course you continue to work on the idea, but when it first arrives you respect it and absorb it.

Marina Abramovic In Brazil: The Space In Between

Photo by Marco Anelli. © 2013 Marco Anelli

Marina Abramovic In Brazil: The Space In Between

Photo by Marco Anelli. © 2013 Marco Anelli

Marina Abramovic: Space in Between

Photo by Marco Anelli. © 2013 Marco Anelli

The Space In Between is available on Vimeo.

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