Marina Abramovic

The definitive monograph on an artist who pioneered the use of the body in art.

Survey by Kristine Stiles, Interview by Klaus Biesenbach, Focus by Chrissie Iles, Artist's Choice by Alexandra David-Néel, Writings by Marina Abramovic


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Since the early 1970s, Marina Abramovic (b.1946) has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form, exploring her physical and emotional limits in some of the most iconic works in contemporary art. Her body is her primary subject and medium, from the early sound-based performances in her native Yugoslavia, to her collaborative works with German artist Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen), her videos exploring her Balkan heritage, and most recently her re-enactments of historical performances by fellow artists such as Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman and Valie Export.

Abramovic features prominently in virtually every survey of performance art, and her works are held in the permanent collections of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 2005 at New York’s Guggenheim Museum Abramovic staged a landmark week-long series of performances entitled Seven Easy Pieces. Her twelve-day ‘living installation’ The House with The Ocean View was on numerous critics’ lists as the best exhibition of 2002, and she was awarded the Golden Lion at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her video installation/performance Balkan Baroque.

Kristine Stiles’s Survey covers the artist’s remarkable career, from her early days in Belgrade to her collaboration with Ulay and her most recent film and performance works. In the Interview Klaus Biesenbach discusses with the artist her motivations and influences, as well as the role of performance art today. Chrissie Iles’s Focus looks at the durational performance The House with The Ocean View, in which the artist spent twelve consecutive days in a confined space at a gallery in New York. Artist’s Choice features an excerpt from French writer Alexandra David-Néel’s log about her visit to Tibet in the 1920s and the magic rituals she witnessed there. Artist’s Writings include early interviews, proposals for unrealized projects and diary entries, providing an overview of the artist’s thinking on the subjects of art, performance and experience.


Format: Paperback
Size: 290 x 250 mm (11 3/8 x 9 7/8 in)
Pages: 160 pp
Illustrations: 160 illustrations
ISBN: 9780714848020

Kristine Stiles is Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, and has contributed to numerous books, including Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object (1997), Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art: A Sourcebook of Artists’ Writings (1996) and Phaidon’s Paul McCarthy (1995).

Klaus Biesenbach is the Founding Director of Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Curator at the Museum of Modern Art and its affiliate, the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York.

Chrissie Iles is Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where she co-curated the 2004 and 2006 Whitney Biennials.

On the Contemporary Artists Series

"The boldest, best executed, and most far-reaching publishing project devoted to contemporary art. These books will revolutionize the way contemporary art is presented and written about."—Artforum

"The combination of intelligent analysis, personal insight, useful facts and plentiful pictures is a superb format invaluable for specialists but also interesting for casual readers, it makes these books a must for the library of anyone who cares about contemporary art."—Time Out

"A unique series of informative monographs on individual artists."—The Sunday Times

"Gives the reader the impression of a personal encounter with the artists. Apart from the writing which is lucid and illuminating, it is undoubtedly the wealth of lavish illustrations which makes looking at these books a satisfying entertainment."—The Art Book

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Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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