Marina Abramovic

Belgrade, 1970

Marina Abramovic lives and Works in New York. Her artistic career began in the decade of 1970 in the Old Yugoslavia when she went to the Fine Arts Academy of Belgrade. She is considered as one of the pioneers of the use of performance as a visual art form. The creation of some her most important performance works stands out in for example: “Rhythm O” (1974) which she offered as an experimentation object for the public; “Rhythm 5” (1974) where she remained in the centre of a five-point star in flames until she became unconscious These first performances pushed self discovery to its limits, for both herself and the public. They united concept with physical contact; resistance with empathy; complicity with the loss of control; passiveness with danger. For Marina Abramovic, the body has been equally the subject and the means. On exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has resisted pain, exhaustion and danger, all in the search for emotional and spiritual transformation.

From 1975 to 1988, Abramovic and the German artist Ulay, collaborated closely embarking on relations of duality. From 1989, she took up her artistic activity alone. Marina was one of the first performance artists to be formally accepted by the institutional art sphere at an international level, which enabled her to celebrate individual exhibitions in both Europe and the United States for a period of more than 25 years.

Among her individual exhibitions stand out: “The Kitchen” at the Zuecca Project Space of Venice (2017), “As one”, NEON + MAI, the Benaki Museum Athens Greece 2017; “The space between Marina Abramovic and Brasil”; SCSW (Austin Texas 2016); “Common Earth – Marina Abramovic + MAI; SESC Pompey (Sao Paulo 2015) ; “512 hours”, the London Serpentine Gallery(2014); “Holding Emptiness”, at the Malaga Centre of Modern Art in Spain; “The life and earth of Marina Abramovic” (with Robert Wilson Park Avenue Armory, New York (20113), “Balkan Stories” Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna Austria (2012); “the Artist is Present”, New York Modern Art Museum (2010) and “Seven Easy Pieces” at the Guggenheim Museum New York (2005). Her work has also been included on a great scale in numerous international exhibitions, including the Bienal of Venice (1976 and 1997) and Documenta VI, VII and IX at Kassel Germany (1977, 1982 and 1992). Her first European retrospective work, “The Cleaner” celebrated at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm Sweden (2017) was followed by works shown at the Modern Art Museum of Louisana at Copenhagen; Henie Onstad, Sanvika, Norway (2017); Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn Germany (2018) In 2020, at the London Royal Academy of Arts, Abramovic celebrated the first individual exhibition dedicated to a woman artist of great scale .

Abramovic has combined her artistic activity with an academic one, giving conferences in Europe and America. In 1994 she worked for seven years as a Professor of Scenic Art at the Hochschule für Bildende Künst in Braunschweig. In 2004, she was awarded an Honoris Causa Doctorate at the Art Institute in Chicago, at Plymouth University and Williams College. As from 2014, she established the MAI (Marina Abramovic Institute) to support the future exploring and promotion of performance and scenic art.

(Text by Julio Beltrán Peiró)

Exhibited Works

  • “Five stages of Maya Dance”, alabaster with 3D technique, LED, 2013.