Marina Abramovic


November 30, 1946



Death date



Performance Art

Marina Abramovic is a performance artist, and is widely known as the "grandmother of performance art". Her work mostly deals with the themes of artist versus audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind.


Her first well-known piece was called Rhythm 10 in 1973. In this piece she played the Russian knife game, stabbing in between her fingers repeatedly. Each time she mistakenly cut herself, she picked up a new knife and started again. She then taped this, and tried to replicate it again, showing the limitations of mind and body.

Another piece, Rhythm 5, represented the purification of mind and soul. It involved the artist cutting off her fingernails and hair, and throwing them on the flames of a petroleum-drenched giant star, representative of Communism. She eventually got inside the star herself, but lost consciousness.

Rhythm 0 was her most controversial and memorable piece, in which she placed many items in front of her and allowed the audience to use them on her any way they wanted. At first people were cautious and only used the objects which would be neutral or pleasurable (honey, roses, etc.) but as the performance went on, people went farther, one audience member even pointing a loaded gun at her head.

Currently, she is well-known for her 2010 piece, The Artist is Present, in which she sat with a neutral look and allowed audience members to make eye contact with her for prolonged periods of time.