Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic


Marina Abramovic (Yugoslavia, 1946) is without question one of the seminal artists of our time. Since the beginning of her career in Yugoslavia during the early 1970’s where she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Abramovic has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. The body has always been both her subject and medium. Exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in a quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. Abramovic’s concern with creating works that ritualize the simple actions of everyday life like lying, sitting, dreaming, and thinking; in effect the manifestation of a unique mental state. As a vital member of the generation of pioneering performance artists that includes Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, and Chris Burden, Abramovic created some of the most historic early performance pieces and is the only one still making important durational works.

From 1975 until 1088, Abramovic and the German artist Ulay performed together, dealing with relations of duality. After separating in 1988, Abramovic returned to solo performances in 1989. Abramovic has presented her work with performances, sound, photography, video, sculpture, and “Transitory Objects for Human and Non-Human Use” in solo exhibitions at major institutions in the US and Europe, including the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Neatherlands (1985); Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (1990); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1993); and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1995). Her work has also been included in many large-scale international exhibitions including the Venice Biennial (1976 and 1997), and Documenta 6, 7, and 9, in Kassel, Germany (1977, 1982, and 1992). In 1995, she exhibited her touring exhibition Objects Performance Video Sound at the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford, IMMA in Dublin, and the Fruitmaker Gallery in Edinburgh. In 1998, the Artist Body-Public Body toured extensively including the Kunstmuseum and Grosse Halle in Bern, La Gallera in Valencia. In 2000 a large solo show was held at the Kunstverin in Hanover. In 2002, she participated in the Belin-Moscow exhibition which toured from the Martin Gropius-Bau in Berlin to the State Historical Museum, Moscow in 2004.

In 2004, Abramovic also exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in New York as well as a significant touring solo show called The Star in Maruame Museum of Contemporary Art and the Komamoto Museum of Contemporary Art in Japan.

  Marina Abramovic has taught and lectures extensively over Europe and America including the Hoschule fur Bilende Kunste in Hamburg, and Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1994 she became Professor for Performance Art at the Hoschule fur Bilende Kunste in Braunschweig where she taught for seven years. In 2004 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Art Institute in Chicago. In November 2004, Abramovic gave lectures and talks at the Columbia College in Chicago, the University of Minnesota, and at the University of New York.

She was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennial for her extraordinary video installation/performance piece Balkan Baroque, and in 2003 received the Bessie for The House with the Ocean View, a twelve day performance at the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. In 2005 Abramovic presented a performance/ installation called Seven Easy Pieces for the Guggenheim Museum in New York. In 2010 Abramovic performed The Artist Is Present, a 736-hour and 30-minute static, silent piece, in which she sat immobile in the museum's atrium while spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite her. The artist Ulay made a surprise appearance at the opening night of the show. Her work is included in many major public collections worldwide.