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Marina Abramovic: 5 times 50 seconds

God, sex, money and her

This is Marina Abramovic, universally known as the “grandmother of performance art” despite her youthful appearance, whose solo show at Moma in 2010 drew crowds of at least 750,000 people. She is a creature of seduction, yet also a social activist, both superficial and profound, glamorous and conceptual, a disciple of dematerialisation and materialism. A Yugoslav communist (her origins) and an American capitalist (what she has become). As she says herself on page 338 of her book, she is in fact three people at once: “There is the warrior one and the spiritual ones. The bullshit one is the one I try to keep hidden. This is the poor little Marina who thinks everything she does is wrong the Marina who’s fat, ugly, and unwanted. The one who, when she’s sad, consoles herself by watching bad movies, eating whole boxes of chocolates, and putting her head under the pillow to pretend her troubles don’t exist.” There can be no doubt that the woman who responded to my amusing exercise of five questions in 50 seconds was her warrior self. Each answer was given without preparation, without faltering, and with no holds barred. Marina Abramovic has yet to give up her throne as the absolute queen of performance art.