Marina Abramovic:”I feel no connection to Serbia as it is today”

“During my childhood and youth, until I left in 1975, I felt an intense connection to this country at that time, but today, I feel almost no connection to Serbia as it is. The only connection and the only link I want to establish through my exhibition is with young people in Serbia, not with my generation, because I have never really been fully accepted by my generation. Yes, they now want to connect with me and we are even making a short film called “Coming Home”,” said Marina Abramovic in an interview for the Jutarnji List daily in which she spoke about her retrospective exhibition called “The Cleaner”, scheduled to be staged at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade this year.

“I do not like retrospectives. A retrospective sounds like: ‘OK, the artist is probably going to die in three years’ if they are holding a retrospective exhibition now. But I really like its name “The Cleaner” – cleaning the emotions, cleaning the past, looking back from the new perspective… It’s like cleaning up and creating a new reality,” she said.

Asked if she still felt that Belgrade was her home, Abramovic said that no city felt that way.

“I do not have that feeling anymore, I think it’s a very Slavic type of feeling. My body is my home. Wherever I am, I feel good in that body and that matters to me, because we Slavs always feel a sense of nostalgia – we think about the past, like it was better than it is today and that now is no longer so good. I only think about the present, about the moment right now. It is the only reality and when you grasp this, it actually extends, not narrow the overall picture. Now is the only thing we have. For all we know, an asteroid might hit the Earth soon and we will all cease to exist”, Abramovic adds.

In the interview, she also talked about her life, as well as offers for a film about her. After talking to Abramovic, theatre director Bob Wilson concluded that if he were to make a play based on her, it would not be a tragedy, but rather a hilarious comedy.

“The worst thing to do would be to make something tragic out of tragic. The result will be quite tacky in the end. But if you depict it in a comical way, you’re actually going a lot deeper. This is how the Dalai Lama operates – he always starts with something funny, claiming that if you want to tell people about the tragic truth, you must first open their hearts with laughter,” she said.

“As far as my relation to my own past goes, I can finally say, now that I have published the book and having lived a very intense life, that I am quite alright. I think that I am free from the past, as I do not even think about it. It took me two years to write that book, and after I finished it, it was as if I no longer needed to remember the past. I can only walk towards the future.”

The book, she says, had a therapeutic role for her.

“I devoted it to my friends and enemies, because there are many friends who, after reading this book, became enemies, and there are a lot of enemies who turned into friends. It was liberating to write this story. I was very happy, I felt relieved, as if a new lease of life had entered me. It created the space for living only in the now. The past is over. All this bitterness, all the things I wanted to say came out of me. I was very honest. First of all, I wanted to be honest with myself and talk about my memories because memory is strange, deceptive. Different people remember the same things in quite different ways.The only thing I could do was to honestly recall what has been stored in my memory,” Marina Abramovic said.

Speaking of Trump, Abramovic said that he was a joke.

“What do I think about Trump? He is crazy, he is a joke, everything he does is like a joke, surreal, and there is nothing to joke about him, when you look at what he says on a daily basis – crazy, impossible stuff.  A shaman said that Tramp was actually very important to us at this stage of human civilization because he is so irrational, so insane that he makes us wake up. And that is right! People are now more aware of politics and what it is happening much more than before. I don’t spend that much time in America anymore. I have been on the road for five months. Now, I’m here for a week and then three weeks on the road again. Since Trump came to power, I spend very little time here (in the US) so I read abroad what’s going on with Trump, just like you,” Marina Abramovic concludes.

(Nedeljnik, 22.01.2019)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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