Marina Abramovic is a New-York based Serbian performance artist who begun her career in the early 1970s.
In 2002 Annet Gelink Gallery presented a solo exhibition by Marina Abramovic. She presented the film 'The Hero (for Antonio)', 2001. The work is a 16-mm b/w film shows a proud white stallion with a rider, in whose right hand is a flag. An old partisan song can be heard in the background, sung by a woman in a Slavic language. Horse and rider stand stock-still in a hilly landscape. It's as if they have been frozen on the battlefield, just before or just after the battle has taken place. The only things that move are the fluttering flag, the horse's mane and the rider's hair. The rider is not a man however, as one would expect, but Abramovic herself. She does not sit haughtily in the saddle with her chest expanded, as a rider in a classical equestrian statue, but she is somewhat bent over. And the flag she carries with such difficulty is not the proud symbol of her country but a white flag, the sign of submission.
The work came about during the summer of 2001 and was commissioned by the Fundación NMAC, Montenmedio Arte Contemporaneo in Spain. Marina Abramovic was invited there with nine other artists, among them Maurizio Cattelan, Anya Gallaccio and Sol le Witt, to carry out a site-specific project. NMAC is an initiative of Jimena Blázquez Abascal; its goal is to create a dialogue between art and nature. The Montenmedio estate is a nature reserve, and the artists were asked to base their work on the area's natural resources.
In addition to this work, Abramovic also produced the work 'Human Nests' in Montenmedio. She went to an old stone quarry and made seven holes at varying heights in the quarry's steep walls. The holes, which are just large enough to accommodate a sitting human figure, can serve as resting places during a journey or an escape. They offer protection, but they also provide a sense of vulnerability to whoever sits in them. The deep concentration that is required to enable one to sit there at such a great height creates a heightened awareness of the here and now.