Marina Abramovic, Dragon Heads (1990)

Marina Abramovic's Reddit highlights

According to her online interview, the performance artist is not a vampire and she likes Antony and The Johnsons

There's something remarkably compelling about Reddit's interview format; the site allows readers to upgrade or downgrade submissions, ordering pages of chat between posters and a particular subject in a sharp hierarchy of interest.

Little wonder interviewees in the site's ongoing strand Ask Me Anything - who include President Obama, Radiohead's Thom Yorke, and K-Pop sensation Psy - have given some remarkably candid answers.

No one would doubt performance artist Marina Abramovic's honesty, yet her session on the site, conducted a few days ago, is certainly worth reading, for the clarity of insight it offers into her life and art. She says, for example, that she had to separate from her lover and artistic collaborator, Ulay, because he got their translator pregnant. She was also asked how it felt when, having each walked from either end of the Great Wall of China, they met in the middle for a final hug goodbye.


Marina Abramovic, The Lovers (With Ulay) (1988)
Marina Abramovic, The Lovers (With Ulay) (1988)

"One of the most painful moments of my life," replies Abramovic. "I knew this was over, I new it was end of very important period of my life. I just remember I could not stop crying."

She explains why she did not have children. "I never wanted to have children," she writes. "I never had the biological clock running like other women. I always wanted to be an artist and I knew that I could not divide this energy into anything else. Looking back, I think it was the right decision."

On a happier note, she says she likes listening to "Bach, Chopin, Mozart. I also like to listen to multicultural music like Portuguese Fado, Argentinean tangos, like Antony and the Johnsons, etc."


Marina Abramovic, Phaidon Store, New York, 2010

When one poster suggests the 66-year-old artist has kept her looks so well because she is a vampire, Abramovic says "I will soon post the photos of my grandmother who was 103 and her mother who was 116 to prove that Montenegro people live long and never age."

At times she can be slightly critical; asked for her opinion of Damien Hirst, she characterizes him as "Good artist, incredible business man." She's more flattering when it comes to her recent collaborator, Jay-Z. "He comes from really troubled background. He make his own way from the really difficult childhood and struggle to being rapper royalty and that's not easy. I respect that."


Marina Abramovic performing Gina Pane’s Conditioning, first action of Self-Portraits (1973) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on November 12, 2005
Marina Abramovic performing Gina Pane’s Conditioning, first action of Self-Portraits (1973) at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on November 12, 2005

Yet, even on an internet forum, Abramovic manages to be both humane and otherworldly. When asked, "what is the most valuable lesson you have learned about human nature?" She answers simply: "It is very, very easy to put human spirit down and much more important to lift it up."

There's masses more, of course. Read the whole thing here, and for a more traditionally ordered overview of her career, please also consider our Marina Abramovic monograph.

Marina Abramovic, Relation in Time (With Ulay) (1977)
Marina Abramovic, Relation in Time (With Ulay) (1977)