Author(s): James Westcott
The extraordinary life and death-defying work of one of the most important and pioneering performance artists in contemporary art.
"This book is a magnificent way to get to know Marina's work. To experience not only the better known iconic/monumental side of it but also unite with this the spiritual and the emotional. An invaluable document in the hard-to-document world of performance art." --Bjork "I have known and admired Marina for the last thirty years, both as an artist and as a person, and in reading this remarkable book I recognize a clear insight into both aspects of her personality. With great and obvious love tempered by a sense of humor, Mr. Westcott looks back over the life of this unique artist and insightfully traces the way her personal experiences are reflected in her art, and how her ever-growing dedication to her art in return changed her life. This book honors the legendary career of a fierce and fearless performer, and at the same time celebrates the warm, generous human being she is and the many myths and fables that have accumulated around her (not a few the result of her own self-deprecating sense of humor)." --Robert Wilson "What an amazing journey. I fell in love with Marina the first time we met, when she was driving around in circles for days in a small car in Paris. I still love her and am inspired by her work. This biography reveals Marina in all of her beautiful contradictions." --Laurie Anderson "Since she conceived of her first performance in 1969, Marina Abramovic has been a prime mover in the development of what became known as performance art, a source of its invention like none other, a force. What fuels that dynamism and has shaped its uses and defined its far-reaching impact is the subject of James Westcott's portrait of the artist and account of her work. Gaston Bachelard warned against trying to explain a flower by its fertilizer, but absent Westcott's vivid description of Abramovic's extraordinary childhood among the Communist elite of the former Yugoslavia, her challenge to the authority of Eastern Bloc orthodoxies, her departure for Western Europe and her subsequent exploration of cultures from Asia to Australia to the Americas, our grasp of her motives and our appreciation of her audacity would be much less detailed or critically well informed. Exceptionally candid and articulate in conversation--the artist's voice echoes throughout this book--and performances, Abramovic is a public mystery, a contemporary Sphinx. Rather than destroy that mystery, Westcott deepens it. Rather than contain her art, he opens it up." --Robert Storr, Dean, School of Art, Yale University
James Westcott has written on art, architecture, and politics for numerous publications including the Guardian and the Village Voice, and was editor of artreview.com. He now writes and edits for AMO, the think tank and publishing unit of Rem Koolhaas's Office for Metropolitan Architecture, in Rotterdam.