Performance Artist Marina Abramovic Expands the Boundaries of Art Using Her Body

marina abramovic

When it comes to art, Marina Abramovic puts her whole body and soul into every piece — literally. The Serbian artist has spent her entire life-changing the definitions of art and using her own body to create thought-provoking images and situations.

Now, forty years later, Abramovic’s art has gathered a lot of attention and praise, but she still hasn’t stopped pushing herself to the limit. And won’t stop, for that matter. Follow along with Joshua Kodner Galleries, to learn more about Marina Abramovic.

A Product of War-Torn Europe

Born in the former Yugoslavia (now Serbia), Abramovic was raised by deeply religious grandparents as her parents were high-ranking Serbian government officials. It was at this young age that she began to take an interest in art and began painting. It was an escape from the tough childhood and adulthood she endured from hardened, abusive parents.

She was an art student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade for a few years and continued her graduate career at the Academy of Fine Arts in Croatia. It was after leaving Croatia that Abramovic turned to teach, and then to performance art, where she would find her niche and flourish into the artist, she is today.

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Growing Her Artistic Style

Abramovic’s artwork quickly grew in popularity. Each piece of performance art was memorable, to say the least. Abramovic often exposed herself to danger, creating outrageous and thought-provoking situations. Perhaps one of her most jaw-dropping artwork is Rhythm O (1972) in which Abramovic sits in a room with seventy-two dangerous objects. The design and performance are meant to cause tension in the viewer, unsure of what Abramovic will do once the viewer leaves the room.

Over the years, her art has grown to also include other people. She frequently collaborated with Ulay, a German artist, and created several memorable pieces together such as The Lovers (1989) and Rest Energy. The duo would go on to create other live performance pieces, often lasting long hours.

Don’t Forget Your Roots

By the 1990s, Abramovic began to create her own work without Ulay. The Balkan conflict in the 1990s profoundly affected Abramovic, forcing her to reflect on the war-torn parts of her former home of Yugoslavia. In 1997, Abramovic performed Balkan Baroque in which Abramovic, in white, sits on top of vile animal bones and hand-cleans them herself. The performance was a horrific scene and an effective metaphor for the genocide and violence of the former Yugoslavia.

The Grandmother of Performance Art

Today, Marina Abramovic and her jaw-dropping performances have created a name for themselves. Since her flourishment in the 1970s, Abramovic has performed in museums around the world,

including the MoMA in 2010. She continues to defy art and continues to build upon the legacy that is performance art (she is the self-proclaimed grandmother of performance art, after all).

Getting a Piece of Abramovic

Although a performance artist, there are a few pieces of Abramovic’s artwork available for purchase at Joshua Kodner. They are extremely rare, as she found her calling in performance art instead of paintings and two-dimensional works. The auction house,

Joshua Kodner has spent the last decade accumulating the finest pieces of art and antiques, thanks to a dedicated staff team. With years of experience and a variety of different treasures, you can trust Joshua Kodner to provide authenticity at a great price. Make sure to visit our blog for the latest news and industry trends.



Photo Credit: The Cut and Ruven Afanador