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Singing LessonMarina Abramović

December 13, 2013

Filmed in 2011, Marina Abramović prepares for her role in The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, an opera based on her own life. Directed by Bob Wilson and featuring original music by Antony Hegarty, The Life and Death of Marina Abramović premiered at the Manchester International Festival in 2011 and traveled to New York City’s Park Avenue Armory in 2013. In the film, Abramović takes one of her first ever singing lessons at the Manhattan studio of vocal coach Nora York. Abramović discusses her desire to become a better singer despite being told as a child that she “didn’t have an ear for music.”

More information and credits


Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producers: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Charles Atlas. Camera: Paul Gibson. Sound: Mark Mandler. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Morgan Riles. Music Courtesy: Antony Hegarty. Photography Courtesy: Marina Abramović Archives & Robert Wilson. Special Thanks: Nora York. Theme Music: Peter Foley.

Art21 Exclusive is supported, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; 21c Museum Hotel, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, and by individual contributors.

Closed captionsAvailable in English, German, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Italian

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Marina Abramović

A pioneer of performance as a visual art form, Marina Abramović has used her body as both subject and medium of her performances to test her physical, mental, and emotional limits—often pushing beyond them and even risking her life—in a quest for heightened consciousness, transcendence, and self-transformation. Characterized by endurance and pain—and by repetitive behavior, actions of long duration, and intense public interactions and energy dialogues—her work has engaged, fascinated, and sometimes repelled live audiences.


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“When I do my performances, I’m in complete control. But when it comes to life, I like to give up control. And giving up control is one of the hardest things an artist can do in their lifetime.”

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović

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Marina Abramović

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