Monocle 24’s new series features in-depth interviews with inspirational names in global politics, business, culture and design. Hosted by Tyler Brûlé, Andrew Tuck and Monocle’s senior editors.
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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.
In Summer 2014, in a unique work created for the Serpentine called 512 Hours, the artist Marina Abramović performed in the Serpentine Gallery for the duration of her exhibition: 10am to 6pm, 6 days a week, attracting a total of 129,916 visitors.
Marina Abramović has always felt a connection to the work of artist Alberto Giacometti: “It’s like a meteorite coming out of another galaxy where all the matter inside is condensed.” Watch her engage with Giacometti’s iconic sculptures.
Performance artist Marina Abramović gets inspiration from nature, not from looking at other artists’ work, one exception being the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti, which to her represents “the soul of matter.” In spite of the heavy bronze castings, Abramović characterizes Giacometti’s sculptures as immaterial, like a “disappearance of the flesh.” She relates his works to her own as a performance artist in terms of energy: “Energy is something you can’t touch … To me that kind of energy comes out of his work,” says Abramović. Another reason for finding Giacometti’s sculptures like ‘Walking Man’ and ‘Standing Women’ so powerful is that they are “always new and relevant to whatever art movement coming and going.”
Marina Abramović (b. 1946) was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia and is now based in New York. She began her work as a performance artist in the early 1970s and is now regarded as one of the most important artists in the field. Her work explores the relationship between the performer and audience, the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind. Her retrospective 'The Artist is Present' at MoMA, New York, in 2010 gave her a wide international break-through and was followed by a documentary film in 2013. In 2017 the retrospective exhibition ‘The Cleaner’ is showed at Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden, and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark.
The works by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti (1901-1966) shown in the video are ‘Venice Woman VIII’ (1956), ‘Standing Woman IV’ (1960) and ‘Walking Man’ (1960) as well as a selection of small busts, all from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art’s collection.
Marina Abramović was interviewed by Christian Lund at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark, in March 2017.
Camera: Matthias Nyholm, Simon Weyhe
Edited by: Klaus Elmer
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017
Supported by Nordea-fonden
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The Serpentine Gallery Map Marathon, the fifth in the Serpentine Gallery's series of Marathons, celebrated a number of key anniversaries: the 40th anniversary of the Serpentine Gallery, the 10th anniversary of the annual architecture commission, the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion, and the 2500th anniversary of the first, original Marathon, in 490 B.C.