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Marina Abramović: The Body as medium

Marina Abramović talks about how she shifted from painting to performance art.  Created by The Museum of Modern Art.

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Video transcript

- It's very complicated with this body thing, how it all happened. I was painting as a young artist. And mostly I was painting these clouds. And one day, sitting and painting and looking at the sky I saw 12 military planes passing by. And they made these incredible drawings in the sky. And I looked at them and I said, "God, it's ridiculous. I'm painting these paintings that are so two dimensional. Maybe I can go to the military base and ask for 12 planes and then make all the drawings in the sky". I went to the military base, and my father was general in the army. So they call him and they say, "Your daughter is in our base. "Can you get her home because she's out of her mind. "She wants 12 military planes to paint the sky. "How much could this cost?" So after that I stopped painting and I start realizing that I can use any material I want: fire, water and the body. At the moment when I start using the body it was such enormous satisfaction that I had, and that I can communicate with the public, that I never could do anything else. I could never go back to the seclusion of the studio and be protected by the space there. The only way of expression is to perform. And if I put the kind of hierarchy of art I will always put definitely the music on the top because it's so immaterial. And after this it will be performers. And then any other art. I mean, subject to point of view.