Credit: Marina Abramović and Uwe Laysiepen 1978, via Wikipedia; under CC BY 3.0
Marina Abramović (Марина Абрамовић) is a Serbian performance and conceptual artist born on November 30, 1946. She is also known as a lecturer, philanthropist, writer, and filmmaker. Her work explores body art, art vital, endurance art, and feminist art. Her performances had the intention to test the limits and the possibilities of the human body and mind. Abramović was a pioneer in interactive performance, where she was experimenting with the artistic aspects of observers' participation and perception when confronting extreme mental and body conditions, and taboos.
A good example of this is her first performance named Rhythm 10, 1973, performed in Edinburgh. The artist explored the elements of ritual and gesture by playing a Russian game, in which rhythmic knife jabs are aimed between the splayed fingers of one's hand. She used twenty knives and two tape recorders and recorded the whole process. Whenever she cut herself, she picked up a new knife from the row of the twenty she had set up. After Abramović cut herself twenty times, she replayed the tape, trying to repeat the same movements and attempting to replicate the mistakes. She aimed to explore and study the physical and mental limitations of the body – the pain and the sounds of the stabbing; the double sounds from the history and the replication. With this piece, Abramović started to reflect on the state of consciousness of the performer. "Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do."
Below you can pond over one of Marina Abramović's most extreme performances and also a short interview of her with pieces of advice to young artists.