Marina Abramović, born in 1946 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, is without question one of the seminal artists of our time. Since the beginning of her career in Yugoslavia during the early 1970s where she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Abramovic has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form. The body has always been both her subject and medium. Exploring the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in the quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. Abramovic's concern is with creating works that ritualize the simple actions of everyday life like lying, sitting, dreaming, and thinking; in effect the manifestation of a unique mental state.
From 1975 until 1988, Abramovic and the German artist Ulay performed together, dealing with relations of duality. After separating in 1988, Abramovic returned to solo performances in 1989. Abramovic has presented her work with performances, sound, photography, video, sculpture, and ‘Transitory Objects for Human and Non Human Use’ in solo exhibitions at major institutions in the U.S. and Europe, and in many large-scale international exhibitions.
Since 2010, she has been working on the foundation of the Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), which will be the artist's legacy and homage to the inmaterial and time-based art. It will be a center for learning and performing about long durational performance.
Also, Marina Abramovic has taught and lectured extensively in Europe and America and, in summer of 2011, she have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Art Institute in Chicago.
In 2021 she was awarded the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts for "courage and the avant-garde" in art.
Frank Uwe Laysiepen. Ulay
From 1976 to 1988 he collaborated with Marina Abramovic in numerous performances. His work focused on questioning the perceived male and female traits and pushing the physical limits of the body.
After his break with Abramovic - who staged in a performance in which each one began to travel the Chinese wall from a point to their meeting, where the break took place -, Ulay focused on photography.
Her reunion rose to fame in 2010, during a work at the MoMA in New York in which Abramovic sat in a chair in a gallery for eight hours a day for attendees to sit in front of her and look her in the eye . When Ulay unexpectedly took a seat, he began to cry and leaned down to grab his hands. That video of the meeting was watched by millions of people on YouTube.
He leaves behind a Foundation in Amsterdam and a project space in Ljubljana, both of which he founded in November of 2020 on the occasion of his 76th birthday. A major retrospective of his work is also due to open at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in November 2020.