Just a few of the many faces (and hairstyles) of Paco Blancas.
When asked why he appears to be crying in several of Marco Anelli’s portraits in the Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present Flickr gallery (where he can be intermittently spotted, kind of like a more bipolar version of Where’s Waldo?), Blancas explains that Abramović is a catalyst who “presses the button that makes you feel all these emotions and feelings.” It’s also important to note that they are tears of joy — at least most of the time.
You’re just being and thinking about somebody or something that’s important in your life. And then just acknowledging this person or situation and moving on into being present because yeah, the tears come, but I don’t want to cry for the entire sitting. I want to move on and continue to be with Marina, to be present.
Beyond free therapy sessions, Blancas’ visits achieve a feat that most busy New Yorkers would write off as the impossible — for him, they manage to stop time.
…when I come here, I don’t make any plans because I know I’m going to be here and I don’t care what time it is. I just let go and forget about it. Sometimes we’ve been there for so many hours on line and you don’t even notice it, it’s like “Oh, how come it’s so late?” You don’t feel time anymore. Time stops, and there’s just this energy.
So is he just a groupie who’s high on the Abramović “no fear” Kool-Aid? Or is this make-up artist batshit crazy/in need of a hobby/just a really good sitter? You decide. And while you think on it, check out Howard Silver’s web documentary on the The Artist is Present.