“I had experienced absolute freedom—I had felt that my body was without boundaries, limitless; that pain didn’t matter, that nothing mattered at all—and it intoxicated me.”
In 2010, more than 750,000 people stood in line at Marina Abramović’s MoMA retrospective for the chance to sit across from her and communicate with her nonverbally in an unprecedented durational performance that lasted more than 700 hours. This celebration of nearly fifty years of groundbreaking performance art demonstrated once again that Marina Abramović is truly a force of nature.
The child of Communist war-hero parents under Tito’s regime in postwar Yugoslavia, she was raised with a relentless work ethic. Even as she was beginning to build an international artistic career, Marina lived at home under her mother’s abusive control, strictly obeying a 10 p.m. curfew. But nothing could quell her insatiable curiosity, her desire to connect with people, or her distinctly Balkan sense of humor—all of which informs her art and her life. The beating heart of Walk Through Walls is an operatic love story—a twelve-year collaboration with fellow performance artist Ulay, much of which was spent penniless in a van traveling across Europe—a relationship that began to unravel and came to a dramatic end atop the Great Wall of China.
Marina’s story, by turns moving, epic, and dryly funny, informs an incomparable artistic career that involves pushing her body past the limits of fear, pain, exhaustion, and danger in an uncompromising quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. A remarkable work of performance in its own right, Walk Through Walls is a vivid and powerful rendering of the unparalleled life of an extraordinary artist.
Performance artist Abramovic shares the remarkable experiences of her life and background on some of her best-known art pieces in this enchanting and emotionally raw memoir. Her story begins in 1940s Communist Yugoslavia, where her Partisan parents' stormy relationship cast a pall over her childhood. This is followed by a glimpse of freedom at Belgrade's Academy of Fine Arts in the 1960s, where Abramovic began to engage with the avant-garde first as a painter and then by staging her first piece at the Belgrade Youth Center in 1969. She then spent a decade touring with her lover, fellow artist Ulay. She provides fascinating glimpses into her experiences living with Aboriginal Australians and her walk of China's Great Wall, sharing illuminating notes from her performances diaries and giving insight into her teaching technique. She outlines the conceptions and orchestration of the blood-soaked knife game Rhythm 10, the marathon sitting performance Nightsea Crossing, reprised as The Artist Is Present for her 2010 MoMA career retrospective, and the ingenious, cow bone-littered Balkan Baroque. Abramovic is brilliant with atmospheric details, coloring the narrative with macabre Slavic jokes and descriptions of the thick glasses and "horrible, socialistic" orthopedic shoes that marred her adolescence; an early living space with a bucket and hose for a shower. She is confessional but unsentimental, admitting to insecurities and failures with refreshing candor. This is an honest, gripping, and profound look into the heart and brilliant mind of one of the quintessential artists of the postmodern era. Photos.
Customer ReviewsSee All
To learn about the life of such an amazing person, not a single stone was left unturned! And even better - you learn about yourself from the most unbelievable prospective. I highly recommend it to everyone who appreciates art, love, life, and who believes that artist is always present - even within ourselves, because art is life.
An excellent well verse book and I learn a lot that I have the power to transform myself and the world where I exist !!!
Heartbreak and bravery
Beautiful autobiography that sparks and inspires. Gorgeous and painful moments of her life and work. It's not necessary to know who Martina to understand her story and connect with her struggles.