Follow your intuition. Have courage. Do what you imagine. And always be completely present in the moment. Marina Abramović on what it really means to be an artist: “A great artist has to be ready to fail.”
Marina Abramović is a Yugoslavia-born performance artist. Her work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Active for over three decades, Abramović has been described as the “grandmother of performance art.” She pioneered a new notion of identity by bringing in the participation of observers, focusing on “confronting pain, blood, and physical limits of the body.”
Abramović says that the most courageous act in the history of mankind was Christopher Columbus discovering America, which was in fact a mistake, since they went into the unknown believing they would reach India. She also explains how the best advice she received as a student was to never allow things to become routine.
A good artist will have one really good idea in their life, while a brilliant artist may have two, so one has to be careful with the ideas, Abramović says. She explains that she always does the work she is most afraid of, which is most different to what she has done before. Finally Abramović adds that the performing artist has to be completely present in the moment, and cannot be thinking of the next step. You have to follow intuition, have courage and do what you imagine.
Abramović (1946) became world famous after her retrospective ‘The Artist is Present‘ at MoMA in 2010, which was followed by a documentary film premiering in 2013. Abramović began her career in the early 1970s and has recently begun to describe herself as the ‘grandmother of performance art’. Abramović’s work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body and the possibilities of the mind. To Ambramovic the purpose of art is the transformation of the artist and of the viewer.