Abramović, born 1946 in Serbia, is famous for being a pioneer of this type of intense, self-reflective performance art. For over a decade, Abramović created works with her partner Ulay, who ended their partnership with a piece called Lovers, in which the two artists walked from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China to meet in the middle and say their goodbyes. In 2010, Abramović was the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. The Artist Is Present included a performance by the same title, for which the artist sat in the atrium of the Museum for the duration of the exhibition. Silent and umoving, Abramović made eye contact with the 1,545 visitors who sat across the table from her. As a result of the recognition and newfound celebrity fame The Artist is Present afforded her. Abramović endeavored to open the Marina Abramović Institute, devoted to performance art studies and training. Some controversy has followed the Institute, which has since scrapped plans to open a physical space.
Opening at Sean Kelly, New York this month, ‘Marina Abramović Early Works’ displays a historical record of the early, groundbreaking performances by the “Grandmother of Performance Art.” The 12 photos represent performances from the 1970's, including her Rhythm series, Lips of Thomas (star on stomach), Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful, and others. In these works the artist subjects herself to a range of painful rituals, including losing consciousness, cutting, stabbing, and drugging herself, in order to examine the importance of the artist’s state of mind in performances.
‘Marina Abramović Early Works’ includes screenings of Abramović’s performances, and offers viewers the opportunity to see these works encapsulated in framed images.
‘Marina Abramović Early Works’ runs from February 10 through March 17, 2018, at Sean Kelly, New York, 475 10th Ave, New York.