Balkan Erotic Epic, 2005











One of Marina Abramavic’s more recent works was the “Balkan Erotic Epic.” This multi-channel installation work was displayed at La Fabrica Gallery in Spain, from January 10, 2007 thru February 24, 2007. This piece is based off of Marina’s research about the Balkan folk culture and its use of erotic. Marina says, Balkan Erotic Epic "Is part of the research into Balkan popular culture and its use of eroticism. Through eroticism, humans attempt to make them selves equal with the gods. In folklore, the woman marries the sun and the man marries the moon to preserve the secret of creative energy; through eroticism, humans can get in touch with the indestructible cosmic forces." Through this work it is shown that Balkan’s believe that male and female genitals have a very important function in the fertility and agricultural rites of Balkan people. La Fabrica Gallery displayed the following videos included in The Balkan Erotic Epic: “Marina Abramovic Massaging Breast, 2005”, “Woman With Skull, 2005”. These video installations were comprised of Balkan peasants explicitly contributing to Marina Abramovic’s display of erotic actions in an almost ritualistic way. The body has always been Marina Abramovic’s most used medium and subject.

In this work Abramovic is responding to culture, society, and herself. Marina had done quite a bit of research about the Pagan culture and the Balkan way of life extending all the way back to the fourteenth century. Through her research and interests she found out some rituals from the nineteenth century. After viewing the art one could understand that the rituals are of an ancient nature. Marina does an excellent job in displaying such controversial material to society because it is her intention to expose society to her art and let the viewer discover the body in a nude and fun way. These rituals could be used by males or females as tools for: fertilization, communications with Gods, and for healing. Majority of society was not exposed to such rituals and Marina gets the satisfaction of presenting such works of spontaneous nature. This is one more act of love for Marina Abramovic, one more gift to society because as an artist she believes she must love unconditionally.

In some ways Marina Abramovic resembles Rebecca Horn because just like Marina, Rebecca Horn has shown through her work that she uses her body as her medium. There is also resemblance in Monica Sjoo’s work of “God Giving Birth, 1968”. Through research I have discovered that Marina has been labeled the “grandmother of performance art.” This is appropriate because there are very few artists who can truly come close in comparison of replicating resemblance to Marina’s distinct and exotic content found in her performances. Personally and initially, after spending time on research and investigating this particular work I felt that it was very controversial and could be offensive towards viewers. However that is only a personal opinion, Marina Abramovic describes the content of her work as testing the limits of her body.




Archer, Michael. Art since 1960 new edition. New York, NY: Thames & Hudson, 1994.



Heartney, Eleanor. Art & Today. New York, NY: Phaidon Press Inc, 2008.



Indepth Art News. “Marina Abramovic: Balkan Erotic Epic.” 19 Nov. 2009 .



2007-2009. Oxford University Press. 15 Nov. 2009 < http://www.oxfordonline.com:80/subscriber/article/grove/art/T097030>.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting ... Are some of the rituals still in practice ?

    ReplyDelete