Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović

Advice to the Young

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."

Meet the charismatic performance artist Marina Abramović in this interview on what it means to be an artist, waking up each morning with an urge to be creative.

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.

Marina 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 Ambramović the purpose of art is the transformation of the artist and of the viewer.

Marina Abramović was interviewed by Christian Lund in New York in September 2013.

Camera: René Johansen
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Christian Lund
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2013

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Erica Jong

    Advice to the Young

    “Remember that if you write about sexuality they’re going to think it’s an invitation to fuck you or rape you. But go on writing about it anyway.” Iconic feminist writer Erica Jong shares a lifetime of hard earned lessons.

  • 8 Writers

    on Facing the Blank Page

    “It’s like a slightly overweight, bald boss saying: ‘Oy, get to work! You’re supposed to be a writer, aren’t you? You can’t just sit around on your fat ass waiting to be inspired’.” Hear how David Mitchell and seven other authors face the blank page.

  • Jonathan Franzen

    Advice to the Young

    How do you succeed as a writer? Get useful, and humorous, advice from someone who indeed has indeed made it through the loophole – chart-topping American novelist Jonathan Franzen.

  • Clemens Setz

    Great Art for Banal Reasons

    “When someone writes a nice piece of music and it affects me, I always think to myself: how can this happen? He doesn’t know me and has been dead for three centuries.” Meet Clemens Setz, one of Austria’s important young writers.

  • Cécile B. Evans

    The Virtual is Real

    “I just don’t believe in the word ‘virtual’,” says artist Cécile B. Evans and argues that in today’s society, where drones are used for warfare and romantic relationships begin online we can no longer distinguish between the so-called real and the virtual.

  • Erik A. Frandsen

    Drawing Out Memories

    Distinguished Danish artist Erik A. Frandsen here shares how the trance-like experience of a 35 days and 1,050-kilometre long walk was transferred into a stunning exhibition of multi-coloured mosaic columns and beautiful watercolour sketches.

  • David Shrigley

    Advice to the Young

    “You’re on the right track if you’re excited about what you’re doing.” David Shrigley, known for his humorous spin on common situations, here advises his colleagues to be open to learning from mistakes and stresses that being an artist “isn’t for everybody.”

  • Manal Al Dowayan

    Protecting Words

    “The written word is about engaging the viewer.” Let us introduce you to the cool Saudi Arabian artist Manal Al Dowayan, who here shares why she has chosen to integrate words into her art – and why they are so powerful.

  • Ragnar Kjartansson & Mother

    On ’Me and My Mother’

    Every five years, artist Ragnar Kjartansson asks his mother to spit on him for several minutes in front of a camera. The Icelandic mother and son here discuss the fascinating performance, which Kjartansson argues has become “like a part of our family life.”

  • William Kentridge

    Reduced to Being an Artist

    ”One can always write ones biography in the terms of the failures which have saved you.” Meet South African artist William Kentridge in this extensive and humorous reflection upon life and his relationship with art.

  • Alex Da Corte and Ed Atkins

    In Conversation

    “My vote is for incoherence.” We brought together two young artists, who have taken the art world by storm. Experience Alex Da Corte and Ed Atkins in this video where they talk about each other’s video works and their contexts.

  • Rachel Kushner

    On Art and Gender

    “I’m not sure how much gender bias affects my life or not at this moment.” Rachel Kushner, author of the best-selling novel ‘The Flamethrowers’, here comments on gender imbalance in the art world, and what an intricate thing it can be.