Marina Abramovic

Serbian (born 1946)
Marina Abramovic Star (from the portfolio ‘Dear Stieglitz’) 1994 © Marina Abramovic. Courtesy of Marina Abramovic and Sean Kelly Gallery, New York. DACS 2017.


Born 1946
Nationality Serbian

A pioneering performance artist, Marina Abramović’s work explores the limits of physical and mental endurance and the role of rituals and customs in our lives. Born in Belgrade, Abramović uses her own body as her artistic material, subjecting herself to pain, exhaustion and danger. Associated with the growth of performance art in the 1970s, she still carries out public performances today. Many of these are intended to challenge and disturb the viewer and have featured the artist injuring herself in some way, such as whipping and cutting herself until she could bear it no longer, or lying inside a burning star-shape until she passed out due to lack of oxygen. Between 1975 and 1988, much of Abramović’s work was carried out in collaboration with her partner Ulay.

Glossary terms

  • Works in which the actions of the artist constitute the art. Artists have used performance techniques throughout the 20th century but the term is usually applied to works from the 1960s onwards.