Marina Abramović and Hans Ulrich Obrist in Conversation

Ahead of her show at London’s Royal Academy, Marina Abramović speaks with friend, curator and critic, Hans Ulrich Obrist about her teaching methods, the threat of technology, and her close brush with death.

This is my 18th conversation with Marina Abramović. It’s a conversation about some big themes of art – death, hope, life, fear. And these themes are, of course, at the core of her practice. Our first recorded conversation took place on a bullet train from Tokyo to Osaka in the 1990s. We travelled together through Japan for a conference at the Center for Contemporary Art Kitakyushu. Since then there have been conversations on trains, in train stations, in cars, hotel rooms, over games of dominoes, in opera houses and so on.

The next instalment of our conversation will take place while she crosses the sea by boat to come to Europe for her show at London’s Royal Academy, opening in September. As we discuss here, she cannot currently travel by plane. This will be my first boat conversation – a conversation on the slow-move.

Marina never works on just one thing – it’s like in quantum physics: there are always multiple parallel realities, many dimensions to her work at one time. While she is focusing on the Royal Academy show, her institute’s curated group show at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and her opera, 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, at English National Opera will also open in London this autumn. Then there are several artist books and publications, even her own line of beauty products incoming – her own brand, in a way.

It was, of course, very magical to sit down with her for this Zoom, to add another chapter to our ever-growing collection of conversations.

AnOther Magazine cover page
Photography: Jordan Hemingway
Styling: Ellie Grace Cumming
Text: Hans Ulrich Obrist
Lead image: Marina Abramović is wearing Comme des Garçons

“We should always look at the ideas that are in the rubbish, because they’re the ones we’re afraid of, they’re the ones we don’t have the guts to make” – Marina Abramović

This article is taken from the Autumn/Winter 2023 issue of AnOther Magazine
Jumpsuit with bows and tutu (worn underneath) in polyester by COMME DES GARÇONS

Photography by: Jordan Hemingway

Styling by: Ellie Grace Cumming