50 Years of Marina Abramović: See Works From the Performance Artist’s Giant Retrospective in Germany

The sprawling survey show offers an uncompromising look at the artist's 50-year career.

Ulay and Marina Abramović, AAA-AAA(1978). Photo courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn (2017), ©Ulay/Marina Abramović.
Ulay and Marina Abramović, AAA-AAA(1978). Photo courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn (2017), ©Ulay/Marina Abramović.

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding Marina Abramović‘s forthcoming exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2020, during which she will reportedly shock herself with one million volts of electricity. But fans of the performance artist don’t have to wait two years to see an ambitous survey of her work.

A retrospective spanning Abramović‘s 50-year career is now on view at the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn in Germany. Titled “The Cleaner,” the show highlights many lesser-known facets of her output, including earlier paintings, drawings, and archive material, alongside groundbreaking performances and installations. The show offers an uncompromising look at the rigorously conceptual foundations that gird the performance works that ultimately made Abramović famous.

The show has traveled to the preeminent German institution from the Moderna Musset in Stockholm, where it was on view last year. The Swedish exhibition had marked the Serbian artist’s first retrospective in Europe. After Bonn, Abramović‘s epic show will continue its European tour to Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, Italy.

A significant chapter of works in the show grew out of her 12-year relationship and intense artistic collaboration with her former partner Ulay. The presence of these works in Germany takes on added significance in Ulay’s home country, just about an hour from his hometown of Solingen.

Despite an often fraught relationship with Abramović, the German artist attended the exhibition’s opening and even gave a talk at the institution. According to a recent interview with artnet News’s own Sarah Cascone, it was during this talk that Ulay realized that the collaboration between the two artists was in fact not quite finished (the couple parted ways in a dramatic performance on the Great Wall of China in 1988). The two have now announced that they will be working together to co-write their memoirs; Ulay says they will likely meet this summer to work on the manuscript.

Throughout the run of “The Cleaner,” the museum will host several revivals of Abramović’s important work, including Imponderabilia, a collaboration with Ulay from 1977. There are also two participatory performances that invite visitors to experience the “Abramović Method” firsthand, a process the artist developed to assist artists with enduring the physical and mental duress of durational performance.

See more works from the show below.

Marina Abramović Stromboli III Volcano(2002)© Marina Abramović Photo: © Paolo Canevari
Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives and Lia Rumma Gallery, Milan / Naples. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramovic Waiting for an Idea (1991). © Marina Abramovic. Courtesy of Collection S.M.A.K. / photography Dirk Pauwels/SMAK VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramović The Hero (2001). © Marina Abramović/Bildupphovsrätt 2017. Photo: © TheMahler.com
Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives.

Marina Abramović. “The Cleaner.” © Marina Abramović. Photo: © Marco Anelli 2010. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Exhibition View from “The Cleaner.” Photo: Peter Paul Weiler, 2018. © Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland GmbH

Exhibition View from “The Cleaner.” Photo: Peter Paul Weiler, 2018. © Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland GmbH.

Exhibition View from “The Cleaner.” Photo: Peter Paul Weiler, 2018. © Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland GmbH.

Marina Abramović. Rhythm (1974). © Marina Abramović Photo: © Donat. elli Sbarra. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Marina Abramović/Ulay The Lovers. © Marina Abramović & Ulay. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramović. Freeing the Horizon (1971). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Marina Abramović Truck Accident (I)(1963). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017.

Marina Abramović. Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful (1975). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Marina Abramović. The Artist is Present (2010). © Marina Abramović. Photo: © Marco Anelli. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present Photo by Marco Anelli. © 2010 Marco Anelli

Marina Abramović. The House with the Ocean View (2002). © Marina Abramović. Photo: © Attilio Maranzano. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Marina Abramović Balkan Baroque (1997). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramović. Balkan Baroque (1997). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramović Rhythm 10 (1973). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramović Shoes for Departure (1991). © Marina Abramović. Photo: Heini Schneebeli. Courtesy Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramović Black Clouds Coming (1970s). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

Marina Abramović Rhythm 5 (1974). © Marina Abramović. Photo: © Nebojsa Cankovic. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Marina Abramović Truck Accident (II)(1963). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives
VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017.

Ulay/Marina Abramović. Relation in Space (1976) © Ulay/Marina Abramović. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2017

Ulay/Marina Abramović. Rest Energy (1980) © Ulay/Marina Abramović. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn (2017)

Marina Abramović Sleeping under the Banyan Tree (2010). © Marina Abramović. Courtesy Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

Ulay/Marina Abramović. Imponderabilia (1977). © Ulay/Marina Abramović. Photo: © Giovanna dal Magro. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018.

 

Marina Abramović’s exhibition “The Cleaner” is on view until August 12 at the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn.


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