During the VIII Florence Biennale the prestigious Award “Lorenzo il Magnifico” for Lifetime Achievement was presented to the performance artist Marina Abramović. On this occasion the artist presented an exhibit featuring her videos and she also, for the first time, read her Manifesto, which was greeted enthusiastically by the audience and received widespread coverage by national and international news agencies, including CNN, which ran a piece on the Biennale.
Marina Abramović was born in 1946 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, and she is without question one of the seminal artists of our time. Since the beginning of her career in Yugoslavia during the early 1970s, where she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Abramović has pioneered the use of performance as a visual art form.
The body has always been both her subject and her medium. In her exploration of the physical and mental limits of her being, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in the quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. She has created works that ritualize simple actions of everyday life such as lying, sitting, dreaming and thinking.
As a vital member of the generation of pioneering performance artists that includes Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, and Chris Burden, Abramović created some of the most historic early performance pieces and she is the only one still creating important and enduring work.
From 1975 until 1988, Abramović and the German artist Ulay performed together, dealing with the ideas of relation and duality. After separating in 1988, Abramović returned to solo performances in 1989. Abramović has presented her work with performances, sound, photography, video, sculpture, and ‘Transitory Objects for Human and Non Human Use’ in solo and group exhibitions at major institutions in the U.S. and Europe. She has also taught and lectured extensively in Europe and America.
She was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale for her extraordinary video installation/performance piece Balkan Baroque‚ and in 2003 she received the Bessie for The House with the Ocean View‚ a 12-day performance at the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. In 2005, Abramović presented Balkan Erotic Epic at the Hangar Bicocca in Italy and at the Sean Kelly Gallery in New York. That same year, she held a series of performances called Seven Easy Pieces at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.