• Oct 02,2023
  • In Review
  • By Abundant Art

Review: Marina Abramović opens at the Royal Academy of Arts, first solo exhibition from a woman artist across their main galleries – until 1 Jan 2024

Fearless, profound, provocative: Royal Academy opens Marina Abramović, as their first ever solo exhibition from a woman artist.

In an unflinching exploration of the human experience, Marina Abramović invites visitors to fully explore Abramović’s artistic evolution and her unwavering commitment to pushing the boundaries of art and endurance. The exhibition showcases sculpture, video and installation, as well as some of the artist’s best known performance works restaged in the gallery by the ‘next generation of performance artists’, taught by Abramović herself.

The power of this retrospective exhibition lies not just in the works, but the artist’s dedication. Throughout Marina Abramović’s 50-year career, she has consistently pushed the boundaries of her mind and body, testing the limits of her own physical and mental endurance. Here, we see the development of this work – from the early groundbreak performance works, to her more recent contemplative works.

One of the most arresting moments in the exhibition is the recreation of ‘Imponderabilia’. The work was originally performed by the artist and her partner, Ulay in 1977, at the Gallery of Modern Art in Bologna, Italy, where it was shut down by the police for obscenity. The work sees two nude figures stand face to face in a doorway – the viewer must squeeze through the gap between them and in doing so, choose which figure to face. Imponderabilia invites the viewer to become part of the performance, they must invade the personal space of the artist and have their own personal space invaded at the same time.

The expansive exhibition is curated thematically, with each room exploring a different facet of Abramović’s practice. Archival video recordings of Abramović’s performances not only provide valuable context and insight, but further enhance the immersive aspect of the exhibition, allowing visitors to engage with the works in a multidimensional way. 

Marina Abramović at Royal Academy is a testament to Abramović’s enduring relevance – a reminder that art has the power to challenge, provoke and transform. This important exhibition is not to be missed.

Marina Abramović is showing at Royal Academy until 1st January 2024. Tickets are available here.

Featured Image :

Gallery view of the Marina Abramović exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, from 23 September 2023 – 1 January 2024, showing Imponderabilia, 1977/2023. Live performance by Rowena Gander and Kieram Corrin Mitchell, 60 minutes. Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives. © Marina Abramović. Photo © Royal Academy of Arts, London / David Parry

Review by Amy Melling 

Amy is a Curator and Creative Producer whose practice is centred around community-led arts projects. Her current research is focused on curatorial methods for exhibiting artworks outside. Amy has a keen interest in the arts and recently completed an MA in Curating and Collections at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL.

Read Amy’s latest review – Dear Earth at Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre until 3 Sept (abundantart.net)


Marina Abramović Hon RA has earned worldwide acclaim as a performance artist. She has consistently tested the limits of her own physical and mental endurance in her work, subjecting herself to exhaustion, pain and even the possibility of death.

In her early work Rhythm 0, Abramović invited audiences to freely interact with her however they chose – famously resulting in a loaded gun being held to her head. Her later work The House with the Ocean View saw the artist live in a house constructed in a gallery for 12 days. Held in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York, the performance invited audiences to witness and share in the simple act of living.

This major exhibition presents key moments from Abramović’s career through sculpture, video, installation and performance. Works such as The Artist is Present will be strikingly re-staged through archive footage while others (Imponderabilia, Nude with Skeleton, Luminosity and The House with the Ocean View), will be reperformed by the next generation of performance artists, trained in the Marina Abramović method.

Different works are reperformed during the run of the exhibition, so no two visits are the same. Find out more about performance timings here Performances in our Marina Abramović exhibition | Royal Academy of Arts

Publication: Marina Abramović-by Karen Archey, Adrian Heathfield, Svetlana Racanović, Andrea Tarsia and Devin Zuber.
Over the past half century, Marina Abramović has earned worldwide acclaim as a pioneer of performance art. This handsome new book records the first UK exhibition to include works from her entire career. Available at the RA Shop and online shop.royalacademy.org.uk

An article mentioning Abramovic we found interesting : A “female invasion” 250 years in the making | Blog | Royal Academy of Arts


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