By doing so, the individual experience morphs into a collective one and creates a powerful message.
Abramović's art also represents the objectification of the female body, as she remains motionless and allows the spectators to do as they please with her body, pushing the limits of what one would consider acceptable.
"Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do." In this performance, Abramović sought to re-evoke the energy of extreme bodily pain, using a large petroleum-drenched star, which the artist lit on fire at the start of the performance.
Standing outside the star, Abramović cut her nails, toenails, and hair.
From 1990–1995 Abramović was a visiting professor at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris and at the Berlin University of the Arts.
From 1992–1996 she was a visiting professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and from 1997–2004 she was a professor for performance-art at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Braunschweig. Making use of twenty knives and two tape recorders, the artist played the Russian game, in which rhythmic knife jabs are aimed between the splayed fingers of one's hand.
In Part I, which had a duration of 50 minutes, she ingested a medication she describes as 'given to patients who suffer from catatonia, to force them to change the positions of their bodies.' The medication caused her muscles to contract violently, and she lost complete control over her body while remaining aware of what was going on.
This tested how vulnerable and aggressive the human subject could be when hidden from social consequences.
Additionally, markings of aggression were apparent on the artist's body.
In an interview published in 1998, Abramović described how her "mother took complete military-style control of me and my brother.
I was not allowed to leave the house after 10 o'clock at night until I was 29 years old. [A]ll the performances in Yugoslavia I did before 10 o'clock in the evening because I had to be home then.
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It's completely insane, but all of my cutting myself, whipping myself, burning myself, almost losing my life in 'The Firestar' – everything was done before 10 in the evening." She was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade from 1965 to 1970.