Marina Abramovic’, a world known performance artist, is my kind of artist.
Her work is shocking. Like an unexpected kick in the ass. When you see her pieces you should expect mind changing experiences, if you are willing to understand the meaning.
Ever since I discovered her work and her existence I felt like you do when lost in a foreign country meeting someone speaking the same language. I felt understood. I felt that my way of living, my choices are not so far fetched, it is possible to live and be true to yourself. This is what her work, which is essentially her life , made me feel.
She wrote her memoir now in her 70- “Walk through walls“
Born and raised in Communist Yugoslavia by war-hero parents, under Tito’s regime, she had a pretty shitty childhood.This shitty childhood on the other hand is the fuel of her work. The emotional emptiness and the ever lasting familial conflicts directed her towards art. This is one fact that binds me with her experience. In my case, there was this emptiness, this longing for something that is not there, these conflicts created under a very fragile financial and political situation, the pretending that everything was fine. I still think about it.
All her life she couldn’t bind with her mother. Her mother, just like her father, had an important job in the Communist party. She was the the director of the Museum of Art and Revolution as well as managing an institution that supervised monuments and acquired art work for public institutions. Her father was part of Tito’s elite guard.
Her mother was never available for Marina. She treated her like an animal. She was hit and closed in her room for days. Marina had to return back home by 10pm even in her late 20s. One time she came a few minutes later, the mother was waiting for her in the dark, wearing her military jacket, took a heavy crystal ash tray from the table and said: I gave you life, I can take it. Booom! She threw the thing at Marina.
Her father left with another woman .
This phrase I gave you life, I can take it I heard it too in my childhood. I was also hit.
I now understand that my mother was under a lot of accumulated stress, she herself had a shitty childhood with a violent father and a suffering mother. I understand that but, shit! What kind of world is this in which you are taught to stay small minded, be quite and nice otherwise you are going to suffer.
What kind of world is this in which a person chooses to hurt another person because another way to be is not known.
This is what my mother was trying to do, protect me and my sister from the pain that she experienced and unfortunately did not let go. She also did not know any other way how to let the anger out and teach us how to be. Most of the times she would apologize after the conflict was consumed. Speaking about inner pain, depressions and anything having to do with instincts and desires was not on the daily menu.
It was believed that only the church, maybe a priest letting you kiss his hand, might heal your pain. But, going to church, standing for more than 3 hours immersed in a sea of steaming people, not understanding what is going on, what are they talking about in such prophetic way, what icon you should kiss first as to avoid the criticism-this doesn’t help you in any way with the issues you have with an unavailable mother or father, it doesn’t tell you how to become friends with people, how to live your youth, how to love or how to raise a child. Now I understand that by speaking about it, being open about it I complete the purpose of me being alive. I help my parents, my sister and me to heal from trauma.
Marina’s pieces are also created with this purpose-to heal herself and by doing it in a public manner, in an artistic way, she addresses the pain of millions of people giving them the chance to face it, to heal form it, to understand it and to change their lives/minds.You will see her naked in many performances.This serves the overall purpose of her work-taking the body and mind to an extreme as to find the internal balance.
In the book you could find out more details about her love for Ulay, a performance artist also with whom she lived and worked for more than 10 years until the unavoidable separation. Marina proved to be more committed to art and profound love, in different instances.
A particular moment remained in my soul, when she found her mother’s diary after her death. Her mother, in reality, was the most emotional, sensitive person but she never knew how to show it. The outside world was way too rough and she chose to become a stone as to survive.
And now again, I ask myself, what world is this in which one mother chooses to hide inside, for a whole life, being afraid to reveal anything which is not accepted by the outside world ? Afraid to love her own daughter.
Marina chose to not have children of her own, like I did long ago.
Living art-this is the kind of art that makes me shiver. In Marina’s pieces blood is blood, shit is shit, rotten bones are rotten bones.
I believe also that we can be artists every day. Because being an artist does’t mean that you have to produce something which will be hanging on someone’s wall or sit on the coffee table.
Being an artist means living in a very personal way because you choose transformation instead of resignation. It means being courageous and sincere. It means working with your fears not avoiding them.
Here is the Artist’s Life Manifesto by a profound, human artist -Marina Abramovic’
An artist’s conduct in his life:
An artist should not lie to himself or others
An artist should not steal ideas from other artists
An artist should not compromise to himself or in regards to the art market
An artist should not kill other human beings
An artist should not make himself into an idol
An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist
An artist’s relation to silence:
An artist has to understand silence
An artist has to create a space for silence to enter his work
Silence is like and island in the middle of a turbulent ocean
An artist’s relation to solitude:
An artist must make time for the long periods of solitude
Solitude is extremely important
Away from home, Away from the studio, Away from family, Away from friends
An artist should stay for long periods of time at waterfalls
An artist should stay for long periods of time at exploding volcanoes
An artist should stay for long periods of time looking at fast running rivers
An artist should stay for long periods of time looking at the horizon where the ocean and the sky meet
An artist should stay for long periods of time looking at the stars in the night sky
Documentary The artist is present
Interesting old Interview