Marina Abramović

Star (from the portfolio ‘Dear Stieglitz’)

About this artwork

Marina Abramović’s performance art prompts us to think beyond customary ways of seeing the world. One strategy for achieving this is to place herself at physical risk. Challenging the role of the viewer as witness is also key to her practice.
This photograph documents her 1973 performance Lips of Thomas, in which Abramović tested her endurance.  In the manner of offering herself as a ritual sacrifice, Abramović ate a kilogram of honey, drank a litre of red wine, and cut a star shape into her stomach using a razor blade. She then whipped herself, before laying down on a cross made of ice. In interviews, Abramović has talked about staging her fears, in a controlled way, as a means to transcend them. She challenges herself to withstand pain in a personal quest for emotional and spiritual transformation.

This photograph is from a portfolio titled Dear Stieglitz, in homage to Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and gallery owner who published the art-photography journal Camera Work in the early 20th century. The portfolio features the work of artists whose photography ‘shows an obvious, personal and also very outspoken attitude towards their surroundings’.

Updated September 2022

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Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović