Marina Abramović Star (from the portfolio ‘Dear Stieglitz’) 1994 © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. DACS, London 2023


Born 1946
Nationality Serbian
Birth place Belgrado

Marina Abramović studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Serbia (1965-70) and the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, Croatia (1970-2). Initially a painter, she subsequently shifted her focus to performance art. Abramović’s work explores the limits of physical and mental endurance and the role of rituals and customs in our lives. She uses her own body as her artistic material to bring about an ‘exchange of energies’ between herself and those who are engaging with it. Challenging the role of the viewer and inviting their participation are key motivations of her work. Her work is inspired by the ritualistic practices of various cultures and societies. In the charged moment of performance, Abramović attempts to move the viewer to think beyond customary ways of seeing the world.  In many of her early works, her strategy for achieving this was to place herself at physical risk. Between 1975 and 1988, much of Abramović’s work was carried out in collaboration with her partner, the German artist Ulay. In 1997, she won the Golden Lion for Best Artist for Balkan Baroque, her video installation and live performance presentation at the Venice Biennale. In 2007, she founded the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), a non-profit foundation for performance art.

Glossary terms

Glossary terms

Performance art

Works in which the actions of the artist constitute the art. It is generally based around a specific event which some artists document with film or photography. Artists have experimented with performance techniques throughout the twentieth century but the term is usually applied to works from the 1960s onwards.

Body Art

Art practices from the 1960s onwards in which the human body forms the substance of the work. It is often manifest in performances which are documented by film or photography.