Marina Abramović

A Life for the Performance between Pain and Suffering - Marina Abramović

Her art is always a reflection on one's own self. Repeatedly, the probably most famous and unrelenting performance artist came to the limits of her own body in an impressive way. Now the 70-year-old has presented her own autobiography "Durch Mauern gehen". A retrospective.

Marina Abramović was born in Belgrade in 1946 as a daughter of warring partisans. She had a terrible childhood, her mother often beat her black and blue. She herself says that was her mother's way of preparing little Marina for her hard life. Marina tried to transform these traumata into art in her early performances that were often between pain and suffering. For example, she combed her hair with a metal comb until everything ached, lashed herself for two hours bloody, or slit the pentagram into the upper body with a glass shear. In 1974, a performance of this kind reached its harshest peak: Marina Abramović offered spectators 72 tools, saws, hammers and axes with which she could get injured. The performance lasted six hours and the artist almost bled to death.

The search for marginal experiences and the fact that human beings´ lives exists in fear of death and is a passion, led her strive constantly for the transcendence of materiality. Magic, metaphysics and mysteries characterize her works.

From 1976 on, Marina worked with her life mate Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen). They were born the same day. With him, deep pair performances evolved, such as the breathing kisses, developed up to unconsciousness, or running towards each other until their naked bodies banged together. After 12 years, the couple parted. Their last action led them to a long march on the Great Wall of China in 1988. Ulay from West, Abramović from East. On this trip, Ulay deceived her with the Chinese translator, who became pregnant. He confessed to his partner still on the wall and they parted spectacularly. It broke Marina's heart.

In recent years, Marina has devoted herself to a self-reflective phase in closed museum rooms or on stages. For her performance "The House with Ocean View" (2002), the exceptional artist spent twelve days and nights without food in a gallery in New York. One of the most impressive events was "The Artist is Present" (2010). She sat down there for three months, sitting all day on a chair in New York's MoMa, and invited people to sit down and look into their eyes. More than 80,000 people wanted to do that. It was an excess of time and effort. Many of the visitors were crying as they looked into her eyes. At the end of this performance, Ulay sat down after all the years in front of her former souls. Millions of people saw the Youtube clip that captures this moment. She said at the time: "As I lifted my head and looked into his eyes, it was as if my whole life were running off in a time-lapse for me." Marina cried dumbly.

In Hudson (New York), the exceptional artist founded the Marina Abramović Institute in 2013, which is devoted to the promotion and spread of performance art. Here the famous artist wants to pass on her intangible art and the spiritual techniques of expanding consciousness to young artists.