Marina Abramović - Photographs New York Thursday, April 8, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sean Kelly Gallery, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Often incorporating charged scenarios in her performance pieces, and relying upon audience participation, Marina Abramović has a profound interest in the energy harnessed within the human body. The motifs of life and death feature prominently in her performances, and Abramović uses these symbols to stimulate our senses and ultimately illuminate the possibility of spiritual transcendence.

    In Tesla Urn, part of her 2004 installation Count on Us, Abramović pays homage to Serbian-American inventor and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla, with whom Abramović feels a deep connection for their shared cultural background as well as their collective interest in the transferal of energy. Tesla was a pioneer in the field of wireless transmission and believed the human body was a viable conduit of electrical force and charged energy. In the photograph offered here, Abramović kneels before the urn which holds Tesla’s ashes. With her hands hovering around it, Abramović attempts to absorb the inventor’s energy. In this performance, Abramović does not physically touch the urn. Instead, she conjures an invisible field of energy – a transmission of power that flows through the human body and is ever-present in both life and death.


Tesla Urn

Dye destruction print.
48 5/8 x 48 5/8 in. (123.5 x 123.5 cm)
Number 3 from an edition of 5.

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $30,240

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas



New York Auction 8 April 2021