Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramovic (1946) has simply taken art to another level: while painters and sculptors strive diligently to recreate reality and suggest the emotions of pain and longing, Abramovic succeeds - using her own body and brilliant imagination to make us witness the unwitnessible/unwitnessable. She is the standard bearer for performance art - in many ways being the creator of this medium. In this excellent book There is a very interesting conversation between Klaus Biesenbach and Marina Abramovic that allows the reader (and viewer) many insights as to how the artist selects her subject matter and how she displays it.
Abramovic is known for the painfully self-inflicted traumas she has experienced for the sake of art and episodes from her extended (sometimes for days) performance pieces are included here. Essayists Chrissie Ives and Kristine Stiles help the novice reader to understand the importance of Abramovic's imagination, but the best way to appreciate what the artist does is peruse the generous photographs that document her performances - both of her own body and of the groups of people who willingly participate in her ventures. (For example, there is included a richly colored photograph of rows of Oriental soldiers in full dress except for the quiet exposure of each man's erection!)
For those who are new to the increasingly important aspect of performance art, this book is as fine an introduction as any on the market. One only wishes that it contained a DVD of some of the actual art pieces here frozen in time by the camera. Marina Abramovic is an artist of the highest order and one whose importance in the art world is generally regarded as the finest. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, February 10