Marina Abramovic (B. 1946)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Marina Abramović (B. 1946)

Balkan Baroque I

Marina Abramovic (B. 1946)
Balkan Baroque I
48 ⅞ x 85in. (124 x 216cm.)
Executed in 1997, this work is number nine from an edition of eighteen plus nine artist's proofs
Sean Kelly Gallery, New York.
Private Collection, The Netherlands.
Anon. sale, Christie's South Kensington, 2 April 2008, lot 685.
Private Collection, Italy.
Galleria Massimo Minini, Brescia.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
K. Stiles, K. Biesenbach, C. Iles, Marina Abramović, New York 2008, p. 158 (another from the edition illustrated in colour, pp. 32-33).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Paola Saracino Fendi
Paola Saracino Fendi

Lot Essay

The present work is a monumental photograph relating to Marina Abramović’s legendary performance piece Balkan Baroque, created for the 1997 Venice Biennale. In this landmark spectacle, for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist, Abramović sat amidst a pile of 1500 cattle bones, washing them methodically with a single rag. Wearing a long white gown, she sang plaintive folksongs from her Yugoslavian childhood, weeping intermittently as she worked. An installation of three videos – featuring the artist and her parents – played in the background, arranged like a devotional triptych. The work followed on from Abramović’s haunting performances Cleaning the House (1996) – a direct precursor involving the ritual scrubbing of beef bones – and Cleaning the Mirror (1995) in which she systematically washed a human skeleton. Together, this powerful trio of works mourned the tragedies that befell her native country throughout the 1990s: notably the Croatian War of Independence, as well as the conflicts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Weaving together personal and global narratives, Balkan Baroque stands today among Abramović’s most important meditations on the themes of ceremony and destruction that lie at the heart of her practice.

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