We round up what is being said about this new retrospective of the work by the performance artist.

Gallery view of Marina Abramović at the Royal Academy
(David Parry/ Royal Academy of Arts)

The Guardian: **** “Abramović’s retrospective at the Royal Academy is relentless. Shockingly, it is the first retrospective to be given to a female artist in the institution’s history.”

The Independent: **** “Naked performers recreate a confrontational route into this display of the Serbian’s compelling and sometimes life-risking work.”

Time Out: **** “Marina Abramović is such a presence, so essential to her art, such a cult of her own personality, that her absence is unignorable. It makes it feel like a tribute to her art, rather than the actual art itself, which is a shame. None of her art really moves me, but I can see that at its best, her work is still influential, pioneering and moving, and still powerful enough to endure, to forge connections, maybe even to bring you to tears, even if the artist isn’t present.”

The Telegraph: ** “The Royal Academy’s retrospective of the celebrated performance artist reveals that, over five decades, she has egregiously lost her way.’

Culture Whisper.com: ***** “The Royal Academy should be commended in capturing as much of the energy and visceral nature of her performances as they can without the artist being present, even if it does feel like it loses a little impact without the charismatic presence of the artist.”

Evening Standard: **** “The staging of this material on film and in photographs is exemplary, and it’s aided by four live pieces from different moments in Abramović’s career, reperformed by Marina-approved artists. I struggled to picture how the vast galleries of the RA could be filled by an artist whose practice has inevitably been largely ephemeral, when they have swallowed and diminished more conventional artists. But there is no sense of padding. The pacing is great: it’s spare where it needs to be, busy and noisy at the right moments.”

The Arts Desk: **** “On the other hand, nothing can take away from the beauty of some of the later work and the importance of her early performances. Seeing her and Ulay sitting back to back, their hair tied together in a single knot so they can’t escape from one another’s company is another enduring memory. As a metaphor for the delights and limitations of a close relationship, it is unsurpassed.”

iNews: **** “Over five decades of performances, Abramović has become the artist-shaman of our times. This show is testament to a supreme commitment to art and its surprising capacity for change.”

City Am: ” a harrowing, often grim celebration of an artist who pushed boundaries as far as anyone in search of meaning amid the madness of humanity.”

The exhibition is on display at the Royal Academy of Arts until the 1st January 2024.


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