Walk Through Walls by Marina Abramovic
Becoming Marina Abramovic

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While the author’s writing could use some polishing, the voice that seeps through the text is hypnotizing, and readers will have a hard time putting the book down and will seek out further information about her work.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

“I had experienced absolute freedom—I had felt that my body was without boundaries, limitless; that pain didn’t matter, that nothing mattered at all—and it intoxicated me.”

In 2010, more than 750,000 people stood in line at Marina Abramović’s MoMA retrospective for the chance to sit across from her and communicate with her nonverbally in an unprecedented durational performance that lasted more than 700 hours. This celebration of nearly fifty years of groundbreaking performance art demonstrated once again that Marina Abramović is truly a force of nature.

The child of Communist war-hero parents under Tito’s regime in postwar Yugoslavia, she was raised with a relentless work ethic. Even as she was beginning to build an international artistic career, Marina lived at home under her mother’s abusive control, strictly obeying a 10 p.m. curfew. But nothing could quell her insatiable curiosity, her desire to connect with people, or her distinctly Balkan sense of humor—all of which informs her art and her life. The beating heart of Walk Through Walls is an operatic love story—a twelve-year collaboration with fellow performance artist Ulay, much of which was spent penniless in a van traveling across Europe—a relationship that began to unravel and came to a dramatic end atop the Great Wall of China.

Marina’s story, by turns moving, epic, and dryly funny, informs an incomparable artistic career that involves pushing her body past the limits of fear, pain, exhaustion, and danger in an uncompromising quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. A remarkable work of performance in its own right, Walk Through Walls is a vivid and powerful rendering of the unparalleled life of an extraordinary artist.
 

About Marina Abramovic

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Raised in Yugoslavia, MARINA ABRAMOVIC now makes her primary residence in New York City and at the Abramovic Institute in the Hudson Valley.
Author Residence: New York, NY
Author Hometown: Belgrade, Yugoslavia
 
Published October 25, 2016 by Crown Archetype. 402 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Walk Through Walls
All: 5 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on Aug 21 2016

While the author’s writing could use some polishing, the voice that seeps through the text is hypnotizing, and readers will have a hard time putting the book down and will seek out further information about her work.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Francine Prose on Dec 02 2016

Abramovic writes touchingly about romantic heartbreak, about the pain of separation from Ulay and her sense of betrayal when her husband, the Italian artist Paolo Canevari, left her...Perhaps what’s most unexpected are the flashes of humor.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on Nov 01 2016

In one of her better-known video pieces, “The Onion” (1996), Ms. Abramovic ate a raw onion while complaining about her life in a voice-over. (“I’m tired of changing planes so often … museum and gallery openings, endless receptions.”) In this shallow and misconceived memoir, she takes that onion from her mouth and places it in ours.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Catherine Wagley on Oct 21 2016

For those familiar with her work’s history, this lack of context might frustrate. This book is written for people interested in Abramović alone, not performance art more generally.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Deborah Levy on Nov 19 2016

...she is aware that her investigation into all the dimensions of presence requires the absence of her own ego. The act of writing a memoir as enjoyable as Walk Through Walls allows her to play with this paradox.

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Reader Rating for Walk Through Walls
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