Portrait of Marina Abramović. Photograph by Paola + Murray © , New York, 2015
Since the beginning of her career in Belgrade during the early 1970s, Marina Abramović has pioneered performance art, creating some of the form’s most important early works. The body has always been both her subject and medium. Exploring her physical and mental limits, she has withstood pain, exhaustion, and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation. Abramović was awarded the Golden Lion for Best Artist at the 1997 Venice Biennale. In 2010, Abramović had her first major U.S. retrospective and simultaneously performed for over 700 hours in “The Artist is Present” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2014, she completed the three-month performance “512 Hours” at the Serpentine Gallery in London. Abramović founded Marina Abramović Institute (MAI), a platform for immaterial and long durational work to create new possibilities for collaboration among thinkers of all fields.
Alejandro González Iñárritu was born in Mexico City, the youngest of five to Luz María Iñárritu and Héctor González Gama. Crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a cargo ship at the ages of 16 and 18, Iñárritu worked his way across Europe and Africa. He has noted that these early travels as a young man have had a great influence on him as a filmmaker. The settings of his films have often been in the places he visited during this period. Iñárritu, an Academy Award®-winning filmmaker, recently won his second consecutive Academy Award® for best director for The Revenant, a sprawling tale of revenge and survival, making him one of only three directors to ever win consecutive Oscars® and the first to do so in 65 years. Last year, Iñárritu won three Academy Awards® for directing, co-writing and co-producing the dark comedy Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), about an aging cinema superhero launching a Broadway show. Iñárritu also is known for the films Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Biutiful, and Babel, which earned seven Academy Award® nominations and the best director award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Iñárritu is the first Mexican filmmaker to have been nominated for best director and best producer in the history of the Academy Awards®.