Marina Abramovic

Star (from the portfolio Dear Stieglitz) (1994)

About this artwork

This photograph relates to a performance called ‘Lips of Thomas’ from 1973, in which the artist tested her physical endurance. In the manner of offering herself as a ritual sacrifice, Abramović ate a kilogram of honey, drank a litre of red wine, and cut a five-pointed star into her stomach with a razor blade. She then whipped herself until she could no longer feel any pain and finally lay on a cross made of ice. The photograph is from a portfolio called ‘Dear Stieglitz,’ named in homage to Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and gallery owner who published the art-photography journal ‘Camera Work’ in the early Twentieth century. The portfolio features the work of artists whose photography ‘shows an obvious, personal and also very outspoken attitude towards their surroundings.’

Marina Abramovic

Marina Abramovic

A pioneering performance artist, Marina Abramović’s work explores the limits of physical and mental endurance and the role of rituals and customs in our lives. Born in Belgrade, Abramović uses her own body as her artistic material, subjecting herself to pain, exhaustion and danger. Associated with the growth of performance art in the 1970s, she still carries out public performances today. Many of these are intended to challenge and disturb the viewer and have featured the artist injuring herself in some way, such as whipping and cutting herself until she could bear it no longer, or lying inside a burning star-shape until she passed out due to lack of oxygen. Between 1975 and 1988, much of Abramović’s work was carried out in collaboration with her partner Ulay.