Lecture by performance artist Marina Abramovi.
Marina Abramovic, born in 1946 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, is without question one of the seminal artists of our time. Since the beginning of her career in Yugoslavia during the early 1970s where she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Abramovic has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. The body has always 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. Abramovic‚s concern with creating works that ritualize the simple actions of everyday life like lying, sitting, dreaming, and thinking; in effect the manifestation of a unique mental state. As a vital member of the generation of pioneering performance artists that includes Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, and Chris Burden, Abramovic created some of the most historic early performance pieces and is the only one still making important durational works.
From 1975 until 1988, Abramovic and the German artist Ulay performed together, dealing with relations of duality. After separating in 1988, Abramovic returned to solo performances in 1989. Abramovic has presented her work with performances, sound, photography, video, sculpture, and ‘Transitory Objects for Human and Non Human Use’ in solo exhibitions at major institutions in the U.S. and Europe, including the Stedelijk Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (1985), Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre George Pompidou, Paris (1990), Neue National Galerie, Berlin (1993), and the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1995). 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 1995, Abramovic’s exhibition Objects Performance Video Sound traveled to the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. In 1998, the exhibition Artist Body – Public Body toured extensively including stops at Kunstmuseum and Grosse Halle, Bern and La Gallera, Valencia. In 2000, a large solo show was held at the Kunstverein in Hannover. In 2002, she participated in the Berlin-Moscow exhibition, which opened at the Martin Gropius-Bauhaus in Berlin and finished its tour in 2004 at the State Historical Museum, Moscow. In 2004, Abramovic also exhibited at the Whitney Biennale in New York and had had a significant solo show, The Star, at the Maruame Museum of Contemporary Art and the Kumamoto Museum of Contemporary Art, Japan.
Marina Abramovic has taught and lectured extensively in Europe and America including the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst in Hamburg, and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. In 1994 she became Professor for Performance Art at the Hochschule fur Bildende Kunst in Braunschweig where she taught for seven years. In 2004 she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Art Institute in Chicago.
She was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her extraordinary video installation/performance piece Balkan Baroque‚ and in 2003 received the Bessie for The House with the Ocean View‚ a 12-day performance at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.
In 2005, Abramovic presented Balkan Erotic Epic at the Pirelli Foundation in Milan, Italy and at Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. That same year, she held a series of performances called Seven Easy Pieces at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Upcoming exhibitions include a major retrospective at the Kunst und Ausstellunghalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn. Abramovic’s work is included in many major public collections worldwide.
[Biography provided by the Artist. Photo by Reto Guntli]
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