by Marina Abramovic
Reviewed by Mia:
Marina Abramovic’s early life as the daughter of Yugoslavian communist war heroes sets the tone for a memoir filled with sardonic wit and driven by a work ethic that at times seems to push her beyond the limits of human endurance. Abramovic helped to propel the performance art movement to global attention in the 1970s. In one of her first performances she accidentally set herself aflame while lying in the middle of a blazing pentagram. In her work with artistic and romantic partner Ulay, they walked the length of the Great Wall of China from opposite ends, meeting in the middle. (This meeting also marked the dissolution of their relationship.) Perhaps most well known for her recent work, “The Artist is Present”, in which she sat motionless at MoMA for an astonishing 750 hours over 3 months, she has demonstrated the physical and mental strength required for less-sensational but equally powerful performances. This memoir provides unique insight into the mind and process of an artist who has poured her literal blood, sweat, and tears into her work.