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© Marina Abramovic/Bildupphovsrätt 2020
Marina Abramovic
Born 1946
Yugoslavia Spirit House, Five Stages, 1997
Andehus, fem faser
5-channel videoinstallation with frying pan, boiling water and sage
Installations, Moving Images
Donation 1998 from Willem Peppler
MOMVi 101 On view at Stockholm
- About the work

To the accompaniment of tango music, a solitary woman in a black dress dances in an indefinable space. Insomnia is one of five video performances that together make up the video installation Spirit House – Five Stages, which all feature the same woman in different situations. In one scene, for instance, she whips herself until she is beyond pain, while another shows a close-up of her face covered with slow-moving crystals. The installation was originally presented in a former abattoir in Portugal, where the anxiety and fear of death still lingered in the walls. The work as a whole evolves into a kind of pilgrimage – a spiritual cleansing of the body.


Marina Abramović pioneered performance art, and is now one of the world’s most famous artists. She studied at the art academies in Belgrade and Zagreb in 1965-72. Using one’s body in a work of art was controversial in Yugoslavia in the early 1970s, especially for women. In her ritual performance pieces she put her physical limits to the test by exposing herself to pain and danger, often with a focus on endurance, as her works extended over long periods of time. For Abramović, concrete physical experiences remain a central to her practice, and performance is a way to take mental leaps. Early in her career, she studied Eastern culture and philosophy, in her search for a non-Western approach to the relationship between body and soul.

- Exhibition history
- Exhibition catalogues
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