Marina Abramović

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Marina Abramović (Vienna 2012)

Marina Abramović ( Serbian - Cyrillic Марина Абрамовић ; born November 30, 1946 in Belgrade ) is a Serbian performance artist with an international reputation .


Origin and childhood

Her parents were partisans and her mother was a major in the army. Her great uncle Varnava Rosić was patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church from 1930 to 1937 .

According to his daughter's statement, the father was a "national hero", but in fact there is no evidence that the father was a national celebrity in Serbia. There is also no plaque on his home in Belgrade, as is usual for national heroes in Serbia, to remind of his father. Abramović's brother Velimir, who lives in Belgrade, repeatedly stated in interviews that his sister only thought up his role as a national hero because she wanted to see him like that.

Professional background

Abramović studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade from 1965 to 1970 . From 1968 she published texts, drawings and conceptual works, from 1973 she showed artistic performances. During the 1970s she taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Novi Sad , and in 1975 she took part in a performance by Hermann Nitsch .

Partnerships - artistic and private

Marina Abramović and Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen) 1978
Marina Abramović, 72nd Annual Peabody Awards (2013)

From 1976 she worked with her partner Ulay . In 1988 the two parted with their performance on the Great Wall of China : after a march of 2500 kilometers each, they met in 1988 to say goodbye to each other and to go their own private and artistic paths in the future. In 2010 Abramović's permanent performance The Artist is Present took place at the Museum of Modern Art . The artist sat on a chair day after day for three months to look 1,565 visitors in the eyes. One day, Ulay took a seat across from her, “[t] he two looked at each other, Marina Abramović's tears ran down her waxy face. She shook hands with her former partner. It was a very emotional moment. ”In 2015, Ulay brought Abramović to court in Amsterdam for violating copyright law. Ulay accused Abramović of claiming the jointly created works too much for himself. In 2016, the court ruled in favor of Ulay. After that, Abramović had to pay Ulay 300,000 euros for the exploitation of the joint work. In 2017, the two artists were reconciled as part of Abramović's exhibition in Louisiana near Copenhagen.

From 2005 to 2009 she was married to the Italian sculptor Paolo Canevari (* 1963).

Professorships at French and German universities

From 1990 to 1991 Abramović was a visiting professor at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and at the University of the Arts in Berlin . From 1992 to 1996 she was professor at the University of Fine Arts Hamburg , from 1997 to 2004 professor for performance at the University of Fine Arts Braunschweig .

Living in the USA

She later founded the Independent Performance Group (IPG) in New York , a forum for contemporary performance art to work with talented young artists. Abramović lived in Amsterdam from 1975 , where she bought a house in 1987, but spent more time traveling and exhibiting. In the fall of 2005 she moved to New York. In 2008 she bought a large theater in Hudson , which later became the headquarters of the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI). In 2007 the Independent Performance Group was dissolved and Abramović founded the Marina Abramovic Foundation for Preservation of Performance Art. In 2012 she was appointed to the competition jury of the 69th Venice International Film Festival .


After early existential performances on border areas of the body that repeatedly operated with risks (for example Rhythm 0 ), the collaboration and joint performances began with Ulay , with whom she lived nomadically . At times they lived with Aborigines and Tibetans . They parted in the form of a three-month performance on the Great Wall of China . Since then, Marina Abramović has been working increasingly object-related.

She participated in documenta 6 (1977), documenta 7 (1982) and documenta IX (1992). In 1984 she took part in the group exhibition From Here - Two Months of New German Art in Düsseldorf .

In 1997 she received the Golden Lion of the Venice Biennale for her video performance installation Balkan Baroque , which took place in the Yugoslav pavilion of the Biennale and refers to the Serbian-Montenegrin ancestry of the artist and the Balkan conflict . In addition to a triptych of video projections, Abramović was busy cleaning a mountain of fresh beef bones with a brush for several hours every day while she sang songs from her homeland.

For the work Human Nests (2001) she dug seven small artificial caves into the wall of a quarry. A rope ladder hangs down from each cave so that it can be used for contemplation. At the same time, however, you have to be careful not to fall off as the cavities are quite small. So you feel protected and insecure at the same time in one of these caves. In her work The House with the Ocean View (2002) the artist had spent twelve days and nights in the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York in three open-facing rooms that were visible to the public, where she only consumed mineral water but did not eat it. spoke, wrote, or read and slept no more than seven hours a day and showered three times a day.

Marina Abramović: Seven Easy Pieces (New York 2005)

In 2005 she staged Seven Easy Pieces at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, sparking a discussion about re-performance, preserving cultural knowledge and protecting the rights of performers as producers. Contrary to the basic rule that a performance is tied to the body of the performer and cannot be repeated, the performers have to deal with repeatability and repeatability, because performance is an ephemeral medium of production and exchange of cultural knowledge, whose cultural and historical significance would otherwise be lost would go. A stabilization of the art form is necessary in order to enforce the rights of artists to their work against commercial exploitation and distortion in a world of increasing digitization and exchangeability of cultural knowledge. Seven Easy Pieces examines the questions of re-performance and the protection of the ephemeral art form performance. The work is a seven-day performance of six historic performances that pioneered the 1960s and 1970s and one new work of its own:

Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present ( MoMA , 2010)

In the same year she produced the art film Balkan Erotic Epic, which deals with sexual and fertility rites in the Balkans. In various individual scenes, Abramović explains various rites, alternating with scenes in which, for example, women hold their breasts in the sun or their vulva in the rain, or men masturbate outdoors or penetrate the ground.

From March 14 to May 31, 2010 the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) showed a retrospective of her work curated by Klaus Biesenbach . At the same time, their performance The Artist is Present took place there, based on a concept by Klaus Biesenbach. During the opening hours of the exhibition, Abramović sat at a table in the atrium of the museum and was silent - a chair opposite her, on which visitors were seated. The performance ended after 721 hours, after 750,000 visitors had seen it and around 1500 people, including Klaus Biesenbach, Sharon Stone , Tilda Swinton , Björk , Lady Gaga , her former partner Ulay and others had sat across from her. The preparations for the retrospective and the performance and the events at MoMA are shown in the documentary film Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present by Matthew Akers and Jeff Dupre , released in 2012 . Excerpts from the performance can also be seen in the documentary The Future of Art (2010).

In 2013 Abramović designed the set for a new production of the Boléro by Maurice Ravel at the Paris Opéra Garnier . The choreography was created by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Damien Jalet , the costumes for the dancers were designed by the Italian fashion designer Riccardo Tisci from the Parisian fashion house Givenchy .

From June 11th to August 25th, 2014 Abramović carried out a long-term performance with the working title 512 Hours in London's Serpentine Gallery , during which she - like the audience - completely dispensed with objects: anyone could come in as a visitor during opening hours and Spending time with her, but had to hand in jacket, bag and electronic devices beforehand. Every day she published a personal summary of the day in the form of a video diary.

“I'm going to create a kind of timeless space where people can spend hours with me. (...) The museum will be empty, no works of art anywhere. (...) This time I'll just leave everything out, even a concept. "

- Marina Abramović

In Hudson (New York) , as part of a long-term project starting in 2013, a 3000 square meter building was converted and renovated by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture of the architect Rem Koolhaas to then form the headquarters of the Marina Abramović Institute.


"Art can only be done in destructive societies that have to be rebuilt."

- Marina Abramović : Janet A. Kaplan: Deeper and deeper - interview with Marina Abramovic

Blu-ray release

  • NFP Marketing & Distribution GmbH (Ed.): Marina Abramović. The Artist Is Present. Berlin 2013 (106 minutes, English with German subtitles; bonus: Deleted Scenes and 44-page booklet)

Awards (selection)



  • Marina Abramović with James Kaplan: Walking through walls. Autobiography. Luchterhand, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-630-87500-2 . (American original edition: Walk Through Walls. Crown Archetype, New York 2016)
  • Marina Abramovic / Ulay . Ulay / Marina Abramovic. 3 performances. Ursula Krinzinger (Ed.), Telfs 1978.
  • Marina Abramovic . Transistory Objects, Galerie Krinzinger (ed.), Vienna 1992. Text: Doris von Drathen, editors: Hannes Millesi, Charlotte Sucher.
  • Marina Abramović . Kristine Stiles , Klaus Biesenbach , Chrissie Iles. London, New York, Phaidon 2008, ISBN 978-0-7148-4802-0 (English).
  • Marina Abramovic. Student Body, Workshops 1979-2003, Performances 1993-2003 . Edizioni Charter, Milano 2003, ISBN 88-8158-449-2 .
  • Lena Essling (Ed.): The Cleaner. Marina Abramović. Hatje Cantz, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-7757-4262-7 . (German-language catalog for the exhibition of the same name in the Moderna Museet in Stockholm)
  • Angeli Janhsen : Marina Abramović . In: New Art as a Catalyst . Reimer Verlag, Berlin 2012, pp. 49-57, ISBN 978-3-496-01459-1 .
  • Julia Peyton-Jones , Hans Ulrich Obrist , Sophie O'Brien: Marina Abramovic. 512 Hours: Serpentine Gallery. Exhibition catalog for the exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, London. König, Walther 2014, ISBN 3-86335-582-2 .
  • Mechtild Widrich: Process and Authority. Marina Abramović's 'Freeing the Horizon' and Documentarity. Gray Room 47, May 2012: 80-97.
  • Jeannette Fischer: Psychoanalyst meets Marina Abramović - Artist meets Jeannette Fischer. A unique insight into Marina Abramović's biography and art and what connects the two . Scheidegger & Spiess, Zurich 2018. ISBN 978-3-85881-794-5 .

Web links

Commons : Marina Abramović  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Marina Abramović: The Biography of Biographies . Edizioni Charter, Milano 2004.
  2. Michael Martens: Marina Abramović in Belgrade: The visit of the mythomaniac . ISSN  0174-4909 ( [accessed August 6, 2019]).
  3. Claudia Bodin: Ulay vs. Abramovic - the trial: ripped off? (No longer available online.) In: October 5, 2016, archived from the original on August 17, 2017 ; accessed on August 17, 2017 .
  4. Claudia Bodin: Performance legend Ulay: His life after Abramović. (No longer available online.) In: June 28, 2016, archived from the original on August 16, 2017 ; accessed on August 17, 2017 .
  5. ^ Noah Charney: Ulay v Marina: how art's power couple went to war. In: September 21, 2016, accessed on August 17, 2017 .
  6. a b What will be important - Marina Abramovic and Ulay are reconciled - "At 70 you might be milder" - Culture -. In: August 11, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2017 .
  7. Ben Quinn: Marina Abramović ex-partner Ulay claims victory in case about joint works. In: September 21, 2016, accessed on August 17, 2017 .
  8. Kolja Reichert: Martyrdom and Brand. In: November 30, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2017 .
  9. ^ Johanna Adorján: Meeting with Marina Abramović . In: FAZ . June 10, 2014.
  10. Marina Abramović receives Globart Award for her artistic life's work
  11. Marina Abramović's autobiography is published on the occasion of her 70th birthday. University of Fine Arts Braunschweig, November 29, 2016.
  12. The mother of all pain ( Memento from February 11, 2009 in the Internet Archive )
  13. ^ Jason Edward Kaufman: Warhol's Factory without the drugs . In: The Art Newspaper . No. 186 , 2008 ( ( memento June 25, 2006 in the Internet Archive )).
  14. ^ Marina Abramović - Human Nests, 2001. Fundación Montenmedio Arte Contemporáneo (NMAC) .
  15. ^ Marina Abramović: The Biography of Biographies . Edizioni Charter, Milano 2004, p. 97 .
  16. Seven Easy Pieces Or How To Perform. Lecture on the repeatability of performances, Frieze Foundation 2006 (content no longer available).
  17. ^ Marina Abramović: Walk Through Walls . Crown Archetype, New York 2016, ISBN 978-1-101-90504-3 , pp. 298-299 .
  18. Documentary film about Marina Abramovic: This woman gets everyone around., accessed on October 30, 2015.
  19. Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present - Portraits. MoMA, accessed December 12, 2015.
  20. Marina Abramovic Meet Ulay. YouTube , accessed March 7, 2013.
  21. Silence for art. Marina Abramovic at the New York MoMA. 3sat-kulturzeit, March 16, 2010 ( memento from July 17, 2012 in the web archive ).
  22. Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present in the Internet Movie Database (English)
  23. Bony men delicately charm you. FAZ of May 7, 2013, p. 29.
  24. Marina, Marina, Marina. Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung from June 8, 2014, p. 35.
  25. ^ Marina Abramović: 512 Hours. Serpentine Gallery, London, June 11th to August 25th 2014.
  26. 512 Hours - Video Diaries. MAY, accessed November 25, 2014.
  27. “You have to be ready to fall from the ground.” Interview with Marina Abramović, Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, April 11, 2014, p. 51.
  28. ^ Hudson - Marina Abramović Institute. MAY, accessed November 25, 2014.
  29. About MAY. In: MAY. Accessed August 17, 2017 .
  30. ^ Marina Abramovic Institute. In: OMA Office Works. Accessed August 17, 2017 .
  31. Janet A. Kaplan: Deeper and deeper: interview with Marina Abramovic. In: Art Journal, Summer 1999. BNET, page 5.2, accessed on October 16, 2008 .
  32. ^ Five SAIC Community Members Rank on List of "Artnet Titans". SAIC, October 10, 2016.
  33. Marina Abramović Hon RA. Royal Academy, accessed November 10, 2017.
  34. ^ Events: Assignment of the “13th July award” to Marina Abramović (October, 2012). National Museum of Montenegro.
  35. ^ National Academicians Abramović, Marina. ( Memento of November 10, 2017 on the Internet Archive ) National Academy, accessed November 10, 2015.