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Walk Through Walls: A Memoir

4.55  ·  Rating details ·  8,697 ratings  ·  887 reviews
“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 performa
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 25th 2016 by Crown Archetype
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Paul Yes, as far as I can tell. And it is read by the author, which both authenticates the audio version and adds something.
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Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I don't even have words for how much I adored this book. (My one-word Goodreads review before I finishing gathering my thoughts was just 'Perfection'.) Let's get this out of the way: Serbian performance artist Marina Abramović is a controversial figure, and much as I'd love to shove her ghostwritten memoir into everyone's hands, I must admit that there are plenty of people who will remain thoroughly unmoved by it, and that's completely fine. But I also want to clarify that I don't think it's ess ...more
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
An impressive tale of how the performance artist became present in the art world and the broader society. This book makes you want to be an artist, minus the abusive childhood. - 3,5 stars

Childhood, budding artistry and a Great Love (and Wall)
Walk Through Walls: A Memoir starts chatty and up close, like boom and the story starts with the childhood of Marina Abramović, in communist Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

Marina has privilege as a daughter of war heroes, growing up amongst books and art in the lusci
I have burned enough calories to rate this, a review will be added soon
Not one of those awful characters out of a movie that gushes out the past while the violins play

A pretty rough childhood, devastating upbringing, dysfunctional family, communism, savage mental and physical punishments, fear, deep feelings of shame, discrimination, bleeding soul, rejection, rerejections, frustrating and dysfunctional relationship, solitud
Melania 🍒
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction

I really, really loved this book. And, mind you, I knew almost nothing about Marina prior to reading this. I’m more of a basic b when talking about art( I just like to admire a good old fashioned painting and that’s pretty much it) but reading this book opened my eyes so much about how complex and mind bending performance art can be. She’s a truly amazing, out of this world performer and yet such a flawed human being.

I loved her honesty and how raw she was in writing this book, maybe that’s
Leo Robertson
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Re-read--sped through it just like last time!

Inspiring story :)



One of the great things about Marina's story is that it surely inspired a rigorous dedication to it telling in the ghost writer, who has meticulously constructed a narrative that it's impossible not to read in Marina's voice.

It's insane the number of times she's been prepared to die for art, and I get the feeling she isn't done trying yet.

The men in her life were mostly bullshit, and a handful of the women wer
Feb 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: artists, biography
Her art is physical and demanding. It requires concentration, determination and endurance. Both her parents were brave and heroic partisans in WWII and she believes they passed on to her the steely commitment needed to “walk through walls”.

Until you understand her childhood and youth you might question how Marina Abramavic, who pioneered performance art, came from Tito’s drab grey Yugoslavia. While physically and emotionally abused by her parents, she did not live in a tiny flat with 20 relative
Jelena Jonis
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was Sex and the City that introduced me to Marina Abramović and just like Carrie Bradshaw, I too, was very sceptical about performance artists. Now I understand why. To read about a performance is not enough - you have to experience it. I think on some level this book IS an another performance and as a reader you become part of M. Abramović art. Her ability to tell a story is at the same time elegant AND sharp. It leaves you speechless. It leaves you confused. And after you're finished with ...more
Kunal Sen
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
It is extremely rare for me to say that I was better off not knowing something. This is one of those moments. I have been an admirer of Marina Abramovic’s work for many years. The depth and originality of her concepts amazes me, and the emotional intensity moves me very deeply. My exposure to her work was only through videos and descriptions. Finally I got to see her in 2015, at a TED meeting in Vancouver, and my admiration for her peaked as I saw her perform, which involved each of the two thou ...more
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are unfamiliar with Marina Abromovic then you probably didn't see the wonderful documentary The Artist is Present. It showcases a project of hers in which she sat in silence with hundreds and hundreds participants who came to be a part of the performance art with her.

Thousands of people lined up in New York for the chance to sit across from her and experience an "energy exchange" with the artist. They were allowed to sit for as long as they would like during museum hours and she was prese
Monika Guliakaite
this is the most inspirational piece I have ever read. it is amazing what a human body could do and how the mind works. no doubt this will be my source of courage and inspiration
Olya Shvayko
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The most incredible autobiography I’ve ever read. It’s about real ART. Life. Love. Mission.
Marina Abramovic mentions the concept of three Marinas in her memoir: the warrior one, the spiritual one, and the bullshit one. Which pretty much sums up the book, full of black and white drama, love, spiritual explorations, travel, art, sex, and more drama.

"Now, then, that is the tale. Some of it is true." – Mark Twain wrote in his own memoirs.
I think this could also be said about Marina's attempt, as I am really not sure if all of her memories are memories at all or are they visions, fantasi
Nov 04, 2016 marked it as avoid
Who is Marina Abramovic?

Like the Elephant's Child my besetting sin is curiosity. So when I logged on to Twitter to check the economic buzz on the latest employment numbers and saw #SpiritCooking trending I foolishly clicked on the link, asked the above question and discovered this....

From the New York Times review:
Marina Abramovic’s first major performance art piece was based on an old Russian drinking game. In front of an audience in 1973, she took a series of sharp knives and stabbed each
The 2010 show at MOMA in New York, “The Artist is Present” cemented Marina Abramovic’s brand –either a testament to the power of her work or to the extensive social media used to promote and circulate her performance. Abramovic was initially part of the avant-garde, focusing on an area of artistic practice rooted in resistance to the commodification of art. But Abramovic’s somehow managed to transform herself and her work into high-status, high-profile commodity in step with the hierarchical, su ...more
Laura Noggle
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely incredible.

One of the most engrossing autobiographies I've read.

“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.”

“I came to believe in the idea of parallel realities. I think that the reality we see now is a certain frequency, and that we're all on the same frequency, so we're visible to each other, but that it's possible to change frequencies. To enter a differen
Aug 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
Zealots have always fasted and flagellated. Religious communities teach that these acts are sacred, between you and your higher power. Carving stars in your body, laying in fire, staring at someone for 8 hours a day while not eating for 16 days, and doing all this in public as art, not political or religious acts? That's one removed from the real thing. Making your career off of publicly mutilating yourself or imitating saints is distasteful to say the least. The true mark of a saint is selfless ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a memoir about a very unusual and interesting person. She is not someone I would ever want to "have a beer with." I imagine she would think I was terribly dull anyway. But she writes about her life vividly and with a lot of passion. At times, it felt like just a play by play of her successes or lovers so it was dull at times for anyone but the devout fan (which I am not), but it gave me a window into a new world, which is all you can ask for from a memoir. ...more
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 stars

#NonFictionNovember 2016: CONTROVERSIAL.

(sorry for taking so long with reviews but work is just killing my free time).

I've been fascinated by Marina since I saw "The Artist is Present".
I watched this documentary two times while I was still in high school and became absolutely interested in her life and her art. Obviously, I was really excited when this memoir was announced.

Walk Through Walls was really eye opening for me.
This was truly the story of becoming Marina. I felt inspired
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The last 50 pages feel a little rushed, but boy, I’m giving this 5000 stars instead of just 5.
Like many who will read the book, I had seen a few clips of Abramovic's The Artist is Present and was intrigued after reading a bit about her online afterward. So intrigued that when I discovered this memoir, I immediately added it to my list.

I am not disappointed by the contents of this memoir. It is name-dropping, it is understanding art from the artist. It is understanding the thoughts and struggle to create it. Then there is the money and sometimes no money at all. There is great passion in
fascinating insights into the life and career of the performance artist

she grew up in an affluent but fractious family in Tito's Yugoslavia, with a controlling mother and a fluctuating relationship with father, where art was an escape

interesting to see her development through her work, in particular as the focus turned more towards the relationship and interaction with the audience, and ultimately in enabling their attention and awareness.

all did seem to lead up to the Abramovic method, but did
Ararita (Okretačica stranica)
Dec 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Such an amazing person and her story about her life, her art and her in general. Must read, even if you do not know who is Marina Abramovic.
(She's a legend, d'oh!)
Jelena In-Wonderland
What a fascinating life this artist has led! I cannot remember the last time I was so immersed in someone's biography. Her ideas are rather unconventional and it was difficult for me to understand the fact that she was prepared to die for her art at any given moment. However, I find that the experience, inspiration and knowledge she want to hand down is priceless, it moved me in so many ways. ...more
Ben Loory
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book, best thing I've read in ages. ...more
Simon Robs
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Living art.
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Tbh I never admired Ambramović's work and never really understood why. But after reading the book I finally do: her ideas, as grand as they are, do not affect me in any significnat way. I do not feel any personal connection to her, as if we were living in different universes. To her, life is art. To me, life is love.

The book itself reminds me of articles popularazing science. So much is lost when it is put into simple words. Her experiences are interesting to read about but I believe this book t
Cristina Georgiana
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a journey into conceptual art, especially performance art, of which I knew nothing. It is the story of understanding personal and artistic freedom from Marina Abramovic growing up in communist Yugoslavia and moving to a western culture, but it is more than that, the life of a person who seeks to improve and create herself. I received it as a gift and I learned a lot, the most important thing being that it has cleared some misconceptions I had on modern art. That's why I also recomm ...more
Paul Ataua
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have never really been into performance art, pretty much hate autobiographies, and can’t stand when people go on about love. Add to this the fact that, even though I admire some of the things she did, I really don’t think I would get on with Marina Abramović if I ever found myself in her company. And yet, ‘Walk Through Walls: A Memoir” was both fascinating and strangely addictive. I really loved the parts about the old Yugoslavia, the monks, and, especially, the aborigines in the Australian de ...more
Akvile Brazauskaite
a very exciting journey through the very interesting life of the outstanding performer. it's such a pitty, that i didn't find her much earlier in order to be present in one of her performances. still hope to have an oportunity to do that. ...more
Lauryna Nelkiné
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational and phenomenal. Exploring life, love and death. Through the pain, starvation, self-harm, discomfort and silence. Raw, strong, yet vulnerable. Disciplined. 110% dedicated to her craft. Spiritual. Free. Persistent. Lost. Woman. Broken hearted. Depressed. Real. Going through walls.

Art is not about esthetics, it is about the change in ideology and human transformation. It should evoke all the emotions: disgust, pain, guilt, anger, curiosity, vulnerability, love and much more.
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Since the beginning of her career in Belgrade during the early 1970s, Marina Abramovic has pioneered performance as a visual art form, creating some of the most important early works. The body has always been both her subject and medium. Exploring her physical and mental limits in works that ritualize the simple actions of everyday life, she has withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in her quest f ...more

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“It is incredible how fear is built into you, by your parents and others surrounding you. You’re so innocent in the beginning; you don’t know.” 42 likes
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