Marina Abramović On display at the Royal Academy in London


The large retrospective dedicated to Marina Abramović, inaugurated a few days ago, is an unprecedented event for the United Kingdom. After two postponements due to the health emergency, the exhibition set up in the spaces of the Royal Academy of Arts in London opened to the public on 23 September and will remain open to visitors until 1 January 2024. This is an extraordinary opportunity to learn about some of the most famous creations of the performance art pioneer. Organized in close collaboration with Marina Abramović herself, the exhibition retraces over fifty years of the artist, offering an overall overview of her production including photographs, videos, objects and installations.


Enriched with four of the most important performances by the acclaimed Serbian artist, replicated live for the occasion in the London venue, the monographic event begins with two iconic works: Rhythm 0 from 1974 and the very famous The Artist is Present from 2010. Represented 45 years apart, the two works perfectly embody the development of Abramović’s language, characterized by the use of the living body and the constant challenge against the limits of physical and mental tolerance. Divided into different sections, each of which contains a period of her artistic activity, the exhibition also sheds light on Abramović’s work in collaboration with the late German artist Ulay, her partner between the Seventies and Eighties. Among the works developed by the unmissable couple is the famous The Lovers, The Great Wall Walk from 1988: a ritualized separation, in which the artists walked for ninety days across the Great Wall of China from opposite ends, meeting briefly before taking different paths. Closing the exhibition is The House with Ocean View performed for the first time in 2002: in this “extreme” performance Abramović lived continuously for twelve days in a sort of “little house” in the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York, fasting and drinking only waterfall.


Initially trained as a painter at the Belgrade Academy of Fine Arts, Abramović approached performance in the early 1970s by performing works based on daily actions ritualized through repetition and resistance. Moving between personal and social space, between the physical and mental dimensions, the Serbian artist collaborated from 1975 to 1988 with her partner Ulay, also an artist, exploring human relationships and male and female dualities. In 1989 she returned to solo activity, giving life to extraordinary performances through which she aimed to overcome all her limits.

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