Marina Abramović is a Serbian artist known for her vanguard performance pieces that use her body both as subject and vehicle. Abramović uses performance, sound, video, sculpture and photography in her practice, is known for her dangerous and dramatic performances to investigate the effects of body and mind limits. According to her, the function of the artist in a disturbed society is to give awareness of the universe, to ask the right questions, and to elevate the mind.
Born in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1946, Abramović studies painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in that city. But then she started to become interested in the art of performance. When she started living in Amsterdam, she met German performance artist Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen). The couple continued their collaboration until their separation in the late 1980s. Much of what they do together is related to gender identity. The most famous is the “Imperabilabilia” (1977) performance, which is based on standing naked and faces to each other at the museum’s entrance, squeezing out one another and choosing one of them. When they decided to end their relationship in 1988, they ended the separation with a symbolic performance, which is walking of the Great Wall of China on both sides and met in the middle to say goodbye.
In her 1974 performance, “Rhythm 0”, Abramović urges viewers to stay in the room for 6 hours with 72 different objects – ranging from rose to weapons – using whatever they want. This performance is controversial not only because of it’s peril, but also because of the occasional nudity that will later become an element of the author’s work.
Abramović’s profile is further enhanced by the 1997 “Golden Lion” award at the Venice Biennale. In 2010, the New York Museum of Contemporary Art hosts an extensive retrospective -“The Artist is Present” – of Abramovich’s work. In the retrospective, there were also a group of performers who revived the artist’s previous works. While performances are often criticized for slashing the energy and unpredictability of the original presentations, they and the new performance make Abramović more recognizable.
After that she has collaborated with pop icons such as Jay-Z, Lady Gaga and James Franco. She continues to teach performance art principles with workshops at art galleries and later with her organizations, especially through the “Marina Abramović Institute” in the New York State.
Abramović currently lives and works in the New York City. Her works are in the collections of many worldwide museums.