Marina Abramović's twitter interview


Lisson Gallery has chosen the Frieze week to launch a twitter interview with their 'new' artist Marina Abramović. It looks like a successful event, with the artist spending an hour answering questions posted by tweeple (people who uses twitter). We compiled the interview below from tweets under the #marinalissonlive hashtag - there may not be the 100% correct sequence of questions & answers since it is not really that clearly arranged online, but it should give you an idea of what's been asked and how she thinks of those topics nevertheless.

Q: (Nicholas Logsdail, founder of Lisson Gallery) How do you feel about your first Lisson show?
A:  I feel great about my first show at Lisson. It is the right moment. Nicholas asked me last year if I could be his Louise Bourgeois. 

Q: (Nicholas) How do you feel about the future of Performance?
A: Every time there is a economic crisis around you have to start from nothing. I always like to confront my fears. I am staging my fears in my performance. It is also important to explore humor in art.

Q: (@Squirrelala) Hi Marina, have you ever done an impromptu art performance or is it always planned before?
A: I've never done any performance spontaneously. I believe in preparation. I like to see the space before hand.  I don't believe in performance as entertainment.

Q: Do you think the re-performing of historical performance work is necessary for a new generation to experience them?
A: I believe that performance is a living form of art.

Q: Marina, what is the first performance that you remember doing? The last major show you had in the UK was at MoMA Oxford in 1998, why has it been so long since your return to the UK?
A: In many ways there was no time for performance art previously. It was more about putting artists here on an international platform rather than bringing new artists to the UK.

Q: (@londonart - that's ours!) The 2 pieces with onion & potato with Marina - why she uses New York Times as wrap on one & russian paper another?
A: Russia was very present in my culture. Potatoes have so much to do with Russia.

Q: (@CreativeLondon) Marina, how do you get a lamb/donkey to sign a model release form?
A: I love this question. I didn't! I love working with the donkey - they are known for their emotion. They are stubborn like me!

Q: How have you spent your time recovering from your MoMA performance?
A: It means so much to be around nature. It was hard to go back to normality. This performance has affected me more than any.

Q: (@DANIELjonKING) Many participants in "THE ARTIST IS PRESENT" view you as a mother figure. Do you consider them as your children?
A: I see my work as my children. For me it was important to be in the present for my MoMA performance. I gave unconditional love to total strangers.

"Marina Abramović: Live at MoMA" by MoMAVideos

Q: What was the most special moment of your MoMA performance?
A: For me the special moment of my MoMA performance was an old woman who came and gave me a shawl as a sign of friendship. It was a symbolic appreciation of my work. It made me burst in to tears. There was a very spiritual element to the work. Also important for me was that the guard for the performance waited and came to sit in front of me. 

Q: (@OperaCreep) Marina, do you think that performance art can live outside the realm of art galleries? Could flashmobs be its future?
A: What are these flash mobs? This is recent for me but I think its a great way to go. It is something I never use in my life because my is very real. I'm also a fan of second life. Flash mob is a big possibility.

Q: Where did you make most of the work in this show?
A:  I needed to do something which is going back to simplicity, which i would have never been able to do if I had not made these works in the 70's

Q: (@annieh_artist) Does performance art need an audience?
A: Absolutely yes. Any performance without an audience doesn't have the same energy. The work is the audience.

Q: Can you tell us a joke?
A: Oh yes. How many artists do you need to fix a light bulb? I don't know I was only there 6 hours!

Q: (@gtvone) Marina, as a performance artist - how much input do you have into how your art is captured, technically?
A: In the beginning I never knew about control. Now I have complete control which is extremely important. To make such a performance you need to be invited and I have never been invited.

Q: Do you think you will ever repeat the performance in another part of the world.
A:  I would never say no to this but right now I can't imagine it because it was only three months ago. I need time to see if I have the strength to do this. 

Q: (@DANIELjonKING) Valuable friendships developed amongst many queuing for THE ARTIST IS PRESENT. Did you ever imagine this?
A: Why did Johnny Depp not ask anything? A community developed around my work at Guggenheim and this developed with the performance at MoMA. It was really emotional because people involved in the performance really felt it would change their lives. 75 people came 10 times to see me at MoMA.

Q: How do you feel when looking at work you made over 35 years ago in the 1970's?
A: It makes me very tired actually. It is the only time I feel old. I should really move on and I am always trying to move on. Let's say I have a healthy distance.

Q: (@yacabo) Do you believe that there is a star system in contemporary arts as well like Hollywood?
A: Oh definitely and I am against that. Artists should not be an idol. The work of art is important not the artist.  I have just been asked by a film maker in Russia if I can play the lead role a film. I refused. That was my big chance to get to Hollywood.

Q: Can I come meet you?
Who are you?

Q: (@rowanhull) How important is time in your work?
A: Time is everything. I really believe long duration is important in a work of art. It can change you emotionally and physically.

Q: Will your show from MoMA tour to anywhere else?
What is this 'back-up' question? I just got information yesterday that it is going to be in the Garage Moscow in September 2011

Q: Why and how do you think people relate to your work?
 My concern is to give everything I have to the audience and it is up to them how they want to deal with that. There are so many different reactions to my work. The ones who participate see something happen because we have shared the same experience. The audience are free to take what they want from the work. The public are an important part of the performance. 

Q: (@DANIELjonKING) if you could choose anyone (living or dead) to play you in a film, who would it be?
A: That is a good question. I need some time to think. I would like to be played by Maria Callas because she would understand me the best. Or I think it would be Anna Magnani. She's italian and she understands drama and emotions. 

Q: (@IsabellaBurley) When will you stop producing work?
A: For an artist is is very important to know when to stop, when not to repeat oneself and when to die. I should not stop producing work now. 

Q: (@delfinafdnThe Abramavic Studio at Location One is a powerhouse for development. Do you think residencies are still important in this mobile age?
A: I think artists today are modern nomads and residencies give them the chance to go from place to place. With residencies you are exposed to a new environment which is very important for artists making new work. 

Q: (@annieh_artist) Is performance art the only unmediated art form?
A: Before there was a bit of photography but not any more. Performance now has a chance to become mainstream art.
Q: How are you finding this interview process
A: It is very fancy. I've never done Twitter in my life. I'm not good with technology. I had a washing machine for one year which I couldn't use and it was only pressing one button! This is like science fiction for me. 

Q: How does your early work relate to what you are doing now?
I could never do what I do now if I didn't do early work. I investigated my body limits now I investigate my mental limits. So what do you do in this office? Is this only a Twitter room? And are these your Twitter girls? Is the final question 'Where do you want to die?' It is really important to start from the beginning to see where everything comes from. My biography would be great to understand my childhood. Everything comes in to place after that. You have to take something personal and make it universal. 

Q: (@dhmonroy) Dear Marina, who artist influenced you, when you begining as an artist?
A:  I really don't think I was influenced by an artist. Being influenced by another artist is like being second hand. Artists that I admire are Yves Klein, Rothko, Duchamp and John Cage among others. So now I've done Twitter for the first time in my life!

Marina Abramović private view 12.10.2010 by Lisson Gallery

See our review on her show at Lisson Gallery here


We will be covering the official Frieze Art Fair in the upcoming posts - stay tuned.