Marina Abramović was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1946. She is widely regarded as a pioneer of performance art as a visual art form. Since the beginning of her career in the early 1970s, she has explored the physical and mental limits of the human body, pushing herself to endure pain, exhaustion, and danger in the pursuit of spiritual and emotional transformation. Abramović has presented her work in solo exhibitions and international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale and Documenta in Kassel, Germany. She has also collaborated with museums and institutions around the world, creating some of the most historic early performance pieces and durational works.
One of Abramović's most notable collaborations was with the German artist Ulay. Together, they created some of the most iconic performance art pieces of the 1970s and 1980s. Their work explored the boundaries between individuals and tested the limits of the body. One of their most famous collaborations was the 1977 performance "Imponderabilia," where the couple stood naked and motionless in a narrow doorway, forcing audience members to squeeze past them in order to enter or leave the gallery.
In 2010, Abramović's groundbreaking retrospective, "The Artist is Present," was held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. The exhibition showcased her 40 years of performance art, featuring reenactments of some of her most famous pieces and new works created specifically for the exhibit. The centerpiece of the show was Abramović's "The Artist is Present," a durational performance where she sat in a chair for a total of 736 hours over the course of three months, inviting museum visitors to sit across from her and share a moment of eye contact. The performance attracted huge crowds, with many visitors waiting in line for hours to participate. "The Artist is Present" became a cultural phenomenon, and the exhibit was one of the most popular shows in MoMA's history, cementing Abramović's status as a pioneer in the world of performance art.
Throughout her career, Abramović has continued to push the boundaries of what is considered art. In 2013, she founded the Marina Abramović Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the presentation and preservation of long durational work. The institute, which is based in Hudson, New York, serves as a platform for artists and thinkers of all fields to collaborate and create new possibilities for the future of performance art.
In 2014, Abramović had an exhibition entitled "512 Hours" at the Serpentine Gallery in London. The exhibition was a durational work in which Abramović created an immersive, interactive environment that invited visitors to participate in various activities, including sitting, walking, and lying down. The exhibition aimed to explore the relationship between the performer and the audience, and to challenge the traditional boundaries between art and everyday life. The exhibition was met with both critical acclaim and controversy, with some visitors accusing the artist of exploiting her audience and others praising the exhibition as a powerful and transformative experience.
Abramović's first European retrospective, The Cleaner, was presented at Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 2017, followed by presentations at other major museums across Europe. In 2020, her opera 7 Deaths of Maria Callas debuted at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, with further performances planned for Paris and Athens. Abramović will become the first female artist to host a major solo exhibition in the Main Galleries of the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2023.
Abramović has been recognized with numerous awards and honors, including the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her video installation/performance piece "Balkan Baroque." She was also awarded the New Media Bessie award in 2003 for her 12-day performance piece "The House with the Ocean View," which was presented at the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York City. Additionally, she has received honorary doctorates from several universities, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Williams College, and the University of Plymouth.
In recent years, Abramović has continued to be an active and influential artist. In 2017, she had her first European retrospective, "The Cleaner," at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden. The exhibition featured over 120 works and spanned five decades of her career. She has also presented work at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn, Germany, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia. In 2020, Abramović debuted her first opera, "7 Deaths of Maria Callas," at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Germany, with further performances scheduled at Palais Garnier in Paris and the Greek National Opera in Athens in 2021. In 2023, she will