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Marina Abramović

Brief info

Marina Abramović was born in 1946 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Since the beginning of her career in the early 1970s when she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Abramović has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. The body has been both her subject and medium. Exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in the quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. As a vital member of the generation of pioneering performance artists that includes Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci and Chris Burden, Abramović created historic, early pieces of performance art, and continues to make important durational works.

Abramović has presented performances, photography, video, sculpture, and sound works in solo exhibitions at major institutions in the U.S. and Europe. Her work has also been included in many large-scale international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale (1976 and 1997) and Documenta VI, VII and IX, Kassel, Germany (1977, 1982 and 1992). In 1998, the exhibition Artist Body – Public Body toured extensively, including stops at Kunstmuseum and Grosse Halle, Bern, Switzerland and La Gallera, Valencia, Spain. In 2004, Abramović exhibited at the Whitney Biennial in New York and had a significant solo show, The Star, at the Marugame Genichiro-Inokuma Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan and the Contemporary Art Museum, Kumamoto, Japan. In 2005, Abramović presented Balkan Erotic Epic at the Pirelli Foundation in Milan, Italy and at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. That same year, she held a series of performances entitled Seven Easy Pieces at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, for which she was honored by the Guggenheim at their International Gala in 2006, and by the AICA-USA, which awarded her the Best Exhibition of Time Based Art designation in 2007. Abramović was the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Artist is Present, in 2010; the following year, the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture in Moscow, Russia also presented a major retrospective of her oeuvre. Abramović’s work is included in numerous important public and private collections worldwide.

In addition to her art practice, Abramović has taught and lectured extensively in Europe and America. In 1994, she became Professor for Performance Art at the Hochschule für Bildende Künst in Braunschweig, where she taught for seven years. She has been awarded Honorary Doctorates from the Art Institute in Chicago, The University of Plymouth and Willams College, in 2004, and the University of Haifa, Israel, in 2022. She was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her extraordinary video installation/performance piece Balkan Baroque. In 2003, Abramović received the New Media Bessie award for The House with the Ocean View (2002) ‚ a 12-day performance at Sean Kelly Gallery, which was also named one of the 15 shows that altered the course of contemporary art by The New York Times in 2023. In 2011, Abramović participated in visionary director Robert Wilson’s The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, the critically acclaimed re-imagining of Abramović’s biography, which continues to tour internationally. The feature-length documentary, Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present, premiered in January 2012 at the Sundance Film Festival and has since received widespread critical acclaim. In 2015, Abramović was the subject of a major solo exhibition at the Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania, entitled Private Archaeology. In conjunction with her solo exhibition at MONA, Abramović conducted a 12-day residency program, through Kaldor Public Art Projects in Sydney, Australia.

In 2007, Abramovic founded the Marina Abramovic Institute (MAI), a platform for immaterial and long durational work to create new possibilities for collaboration among thinkers of all fields. The institute inhabited its most complete form to date in 2016 in collaboration with NEON in As One, Benaki Museum, Athens. In 2023, MAI took over the entirety of the Queen Elizabeth Hall to present performances in conjunction with Abramović’s exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Abramović was one of the first performance artists to become formally accepted by the institutional museum world, with major solo shows taking place throughout Europe and the US over a period of more than 25 years. Her first European retrospective The Cleaner was presented at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Sweden in 2017, followed by presentations at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen, Denmark, Henie Onstad, Sanvika, Norway (2017), Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn, Germany (2018), Centre of Contemporary Art, Torun (2019), and Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Serbia (2019). The artist’s opera 7 Deaths of Maria Callas debuted at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich, Germany in 2020, and traveled to Palais Garnier, Paris, France and the Greek National Opera, Athens, Greece in 2021. In 2023, Abramović was the first female artist to host a major solo exhibition in the Main Galleries of the Royal Academy of Arts in London.

Marina Abramović lives and works in New York.

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