Maria Abramovic is a performance artist who has enchanted her audience across three decades in a wide variety of artworks and performance. Originally from Serbia, Abramovic is now based in New York. Despite from being from a military background, Abramovic’s work is anything but tamed. Her creations vary from sound pieces to photographs to live performances.
Some of the most appreciated work done by Abramovic was done in collaboration with the West Germna artist: Ulay. Their collaboration started in the late 1970s where they explored the intricacies of ego and self. Coming from two very rich and different cultures they decided to form a merged being which came to be known as “The Other”. By surrendering their identities and secrets to each other they formed a bond of complete trust and created an identity which surpassed their individuality.
The strongest piece by the artistic duo in my opinion is Breathing In/Breathing Out. They joined their mouths in a way that they could only recycle the oxygen in their exhaled breaths. This performance showed how life can be transferred, shared and even destroyed by people. In a matter of 17 minutes both the artists fainted from excessive Carbon Diocxide in their lungs.
Rhythm 0 is another very impressive work by Maria Abramovic. It took place in 1974 where the artist placed 72 objects on a table which could cause pleasure or inflict pain. Then she handed over power to visitors who could use those objects on her body as they pleased. While at first the actions of the visitors were friendly, they soon turned violent as people stripped her naked, carried her around and pierced her skin with sharp objects. Abramovic notices that once the performance was over, no one who hurt her dared to stay back as they couldn’t bear to see her as a person. The performance shed light on how people dehumanify victims of their victims.
Also in 1974, the artist performed Rhythm 2. The act was split in two halves. For the first half Abramovic took a pill prescribed for catatonia. But because the artist was perfectly healthy, the pill caused an overreaction where her muscles and body flailed out of control while her mild was a silent spectator. After the effects of the drug wore off, the artist took a pill for depressed and aggressive patients which left her mind in a complete haze, rendering her unable to remember anything that happened.
I think Maria Abramovic as an artist, is determined to push the limits and boundaries of what we perceive as art. In several of her creations we see that she’s eager to expose her spirituality and is willing to take what physical harm comes her way. All of her pieces are supremely creative and impactful. I think she’s a wonderfully strong artist doing a great job in redefining the way we look at life and ego. The range and diversity of her work is refreshing as she delves in photography to performances to installations. She’s really one of a kind.