Carnegie Mellon Press Releases

Back to Press Releases

Carnegie Mellon News Service Home Page

Carnegie Mellon Today

8 1/2 x 11 News

News Clips

Web News Stories

Calendar of Events

Press Release

Eric Sloss

For immediate release:
January 7, 2005

Carnegie Mellon School of Art Presents Artist Marina Abramovic, Robert Lepper Distinguished Lecturer

5 p.m. Thursday, February 3, 2005

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University School of Art proudly presents internationally acclaimed artist Marina Abramovic as the 20th Robert Lepper Distinguished Lecturer. Abramovic will speak at 5 p.m. on Thursday, February 3, in McConomy Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public.

"The School of Art is honored to present Marina Abramovic as this year's Robert Lepper Distinguished Lecturer," said Susanne Slavick, head of the School of Art. "For decades, Abramovic has been at the forefront of performance art, sharing her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation with unmatched intensity. Last year's 'Count on Us' installation in the 2004 Whitney Biennial was yet another powerful meditation on our mutual dependency and the trauma of its breaking points."

Abramovic pioneered performance as a visual art form, using her body as both subject and medium. Exploring her own physical and mental limits, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger, often depriving the body to restore the spirit. Abramovic was born in Yugoslavia and now lives and works in Amsterdam.

Abramovic studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Belgrade, where she focused primarily on paintings, drawings and texts. She began to explore sound environments during her post-diploma studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb. In the early '70s, she launched into films, video and ritualistic, purifying performances designed to release her from the repressive culture of her family and Tito's post-war Yugoslavia, all while teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts, Novi Sad. In 1975, she met her partner of two decades, Ulay, in Amsterdam. Through collaborative performances and "relation works" such as "Breathing In/Breathing Out" (1977), "Rest Energy" (1980), and "Nightsea Crossing" (1981-87), they explored the parameters of power and dependency between themselves and their audiences. Their last work together, "The Great Wall Walk" (1988), involved their walking 2,000 km along the Great Wall of China, each starting at opposite ends and meeting in the middle.

Throughout the last decade, Abramovic taught at prestigious German art schools in Berlin, Hamburg and Braunschweig and won many awards. These include: the prestigious Golden Lion Award in the 1997 Biennale di Venezia for her performance "Balkan Baroque"; a 2002-03 New York Dance and Performance Award (a.k.a. The Bessies) for "The House with the Ocean View" performed at Sean Kelly Gallery in New York City; the Nieders&aulm;chsicher Kunstpreis in 2003; and an honorary doctorate from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004.

Abramovic's work is included in major art museums across the world including: the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Musée National d'Art Moderne and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Her recent solo exhibitions include: "The Hero," Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; "Marking the Territory," The Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, and "The Hunt," Center for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, Japan. Major exhibits in 2005 include those at Kunst und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Germany, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

The Robert Lepper Lecture Series in Creative Inquiry fosters a public forum at Carnegie Mellon for work that bonds creative activity with intellectual inquiry, expands boundaries, questions assumptions and achieves credibility through persistence and enduring presence. Initiated in 1989, the series is made possible through a generous gift by the late Carnegie Mellon alumnus Russell Cameron. The series is named to honor former Carnegie Mellon faculty member Robert Lepper (1906-1991). Lepper's teaching legacy includes noted artists Andy Warhol, Philip Pearlstein and Mel Bochner. An intellectually rigorous approach to creative work and the encouragement of artistic dialogue with the community are among his trademarks. Robert Lepper Lecturers present unique, articulate examples of social engagement and private searching, which evidence wonder, inspire imagination and encourage experimentation. The interdisciplinary nature of this series attracts a large audience from the entire university as well as the greater Pittsburgh area.

For more information, please contact Eric Sloss at 412-268-5765 or


Other Carnegie Mellon News || Carnegie Mellon Home