b. 1946, Serbia

Marina Abramović Artworks

Rhythm Series

These ideas were present from the beginning of her artistic career in the early 1970s. Following her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade and a brief experimentation with sound installation, she produced her 'Rhythm' series (1973–74): five different performances involving risk and pain interlaced with symbolic meanings. In 1974, for Rhythm 0—the final work in this series—Abramović carried out an experiment at a gallery in Naples.

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In this performance, she laid out 72 items on a table with an invitation to the audience to use them on her as they wished. There were harmless items such as a grape, a feather, a rose; however, there were also items of a more sinister nature, such as knives, a whip, scissors, a gun and a single bullet. Over six hours the artist revealed the savagery lurking beneath the surface of seemingly civilised human beings while remaining totally passive and vulnerable. Members of the public slowly began subtly torturing her: stripping away her clothes, cutting her body and even pointing the gun at her head.

Ulay

From 1976 Abramović began collaborating with her then-partner, the performance artist and photographer known as Ulay. For five years, they toured Europe together, living out of a van. The pair terminated their relationship in 1988, grandly marking the occasion with a final collaboration called The Lovers. In this lengthy performance, the former art world couple walked towards each other from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China, each covering 2,500km over several months and finally meeting in the middle to say goodbye.

Her works following the break-up—such as Cleaning the Mirror (1995), Balkan Baroque (1997) and The House with the Ocean View (2002)—were, though not without privation, more contemplative and less violent. Balkan Baroque, in which Abramović hand-washed cattle bones, won her the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale.

Seven Easy Pieces

In her Seven Easy Pieces show at the Guggenheim, New York, in 2005, Abramović took an approach closer to an art-historical retrospective. As well as re-enacting Thomas Lips, for seven hours on seven nights she reenacted five works by performance artists Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, Valie Export, Gina Pane and Joseph Beuys. Each work explores their contribution to the medium's history.

The Artist is Present

At a major retrospective of her own work at The Museum of Modern Art in 2010 Abramović presented a new performance, The Artist is Present. Eight hours a day for nearly three months, she sat impassively in the gallery space while visitors came one by one to sit opposite her. The reactions ranged from tears to laughter (and one incident of unauthorised nudity). She broke protocol only once, when Ulay made a surprise appearance, by reaching out to grasp his hand. In contrast to the Rhythm 0 experiment the interactions were mostly based on love and brought out the best in people.

A documentary film by the same name, released in 2012, followed Abramović's preparations for the show MOMA show.

Marina Abramović: In Residence

Marina Abramović: In Residence (2015), for Kaldor Public Art Project 30, was a paradigm-shift that placed the onus of performance on the public rather than Abramović herself. In the 12 days onsite at Pier 2/3, Walsh Bay, Sydney, visitors were guided through focus-shifting, perception-challenging experiences based on the 'Abramović Method': a process pioneered by the artist and intended to use slow and conscious movement to heighten and engage people's mindfulness of the moment they are in and the actions they perform.

Abramović previously collaborated with pop music icon Lady Gaga on a 2013 video exploring this method.

Places of Power

Alongside these often controversial performances, sound, video, sculpture, installation and photography have also been important aspects of Abramović's work. Video and photographic stills often document or reference her performances. She has also used these media on their own, as in the independent photographic series, 'Places of Power' (2012–2013), which draws connections between her art and spirituality. Abramović's sculpture addresses pain, the body and other themes from her performances and photography.

The artist's body will always be the primary medium of Abramović's practice. As the self-proclaimed 'grandmother' of performance art, she has striven to sustain it by founding the non-profit Marina Abramović Institute in Hudson, New York, in 2012. The organization has initiated contemporary art projects around the world.

Browse Artworks
The Cave (from the series: Places of Power) by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography
Marina Abramović The Cave (from the series: Places of Power), 2013/2015 Fine art pigment print
160 x 213 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Portrait with Matches by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography
Marina Abramović Portrait with Matches, 2022 Archival pigment print
160 x 160 cm
Sean Kelly Contact Gallery
Rhythm 10 by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork sculpture, photography
Marina Abramović Rhythm 10, 1973 21 framed gelatin silver prints with letter press text panel
124.5 x 897.3 cm
Sean Kelly Contact Gallery
Chair from Mineral Room by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork sculpture
Marina Abramović Chair from Mineral Room, 1994 Clear quartz and wood
121.9 x 96.5 x 71.1 cm
Sean Kelly Contact Gallery
Places of Power, The Garden of Maitreya by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography
Marina Abramović Places of Power, The Garden of Maitreya, 2013 Fine art pigment print
160 x 213 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Carry Elvira (Facing Down) by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork sculpture, photography
Marina Abramović Carry Elvira (Facing Down), 2006/2018 Chromogenic print, LED light box, wooden frame
170.5 x 136.8 x 10 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Lips of Thomas by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork sculpture, moving image
Marina Abramović Lips of Thomas, 1975/2005 Two-channel video installation, 96 min
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Seven Deaths: The Fire by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork sculpture
Marina Abramović Seven Deaths: The Fire, 2020/2021 Alabaster, custom light
87 x 76 x 12 cm
Lisson Gallery Contact Gallery
Seven Deaths: The Snake by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork sculpture
Marina Abramović Seven Deaths: The Snake, 2020/2021 Alabaster, custom light
105 x 85 x 12 cm
Lisson Gallery Contact Gallery
Seven Deaths: The Breath by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork sculpture
Marina Abramović Seven Deaths: The Breath, 2020/2021 Alabaster, custom light
104 x 88 x 12 cm
Lisson Gallery Contact Gallery
Study for a Monument (1) by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography
Marina Abramović Study for a Monument (1), 2018 Silver gelatine print
56 x 38 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Holding the Skeleton by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography
Marina Abramović Holding the Skeleton, 2008 Colour chromogenic print
203 x 180 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Self Portrait by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork moving image
Marina Abramović Self Portrait, 2002–2013 35 mm film converted to video
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Miracle 2 by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography
Marina Abramović Miracle 2, 2018 Chromogenic print, LED light box
136.8 x 182 x 10 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Self Portrait with Skeleton by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography
Marina Abramović Self Portrait with Skeleton, 2003 Framed cibachrome print
127 x 203.2 cm
Sean Kelly Contact Gallery
Portrait with Potatoes by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography
Marina Abramović Portrait with Potatoes, 2008 Colour chromogenic print
120 x 120 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
Study for a Monument (4) by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography, print
Marina Abramović Study for a Monument (4), 2018 Silver gelatin print
38 x 56 cm
Galerie Krinzinger Contact Gallery
The Lovers (Starhead) by Marina Abramović contemporary artwork photography, drawing
Marina Abramović The Lovers (Starhead), 1988 Framed and matted colour photograph with unique drawing by the artist below the image
74.6 x 69.2 cm
Sean Kelly Contact Gallery
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