Deep shame, maximum self-consciousness.


Deep shame, maximum self-consciousness. When I was young it was impossible for me to talk to people. Now I can stand in front of three thousand people without any notes, any preconception of what I’m going to say, even without visual material, and I can look at everyone in the audience and talk for two hours easily.

What happened?

Art happened.

When I was fourteen, I asked my father for a set of oil paints. He bought them for me, and also arranged for a painting lesson from an old partisan friend of his, an artist named Filo Filipović. Filipović, who was part of a group called Informel, painted what he called abstract landscapes. He arrived in my little studio carrying paints, canvas, and some other materials, and he gave me my first painting lesson.

He cut out a piece of canvas and put it on the floor. He opened a can of glue and threw the liquid on the canvas; he added a little bit of sand, some yellow pigment, some red pigment, and some black. Then he poured about half a liter of gasoline on it, lit a match, and everything exploded. “This is a sunset,” he told me. And then he left.

This made a big impression on me. I waited until the charred mess had dried, and then very carefully pinned it to the wall. Then my family and I left for vacation. When I came back, the August sun had dried everything up. The color was gone and the sand had fallen off. There was nothing left but a pile of ashes and sand on the floor. The sunset didn’t exist anymore.

Later on, I understood why this experience was so important. It taught me that the process was more important than the result, just as the performance means more to me than the object.

~ Marina Abramovic, Walk Through Walls: A Memoir (October 25, 2016)

Marina Abramović, 69, is a Serbian performance artist based in New York. Her work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Active for over three decades, Abramović has been described as the “grandmother of performance art.” She pioneered a new notion of identity by bringing in the participation of observers, focusing on “confronting pain, blood, and physical limits of the body.” The passage above is from her recently recently memoir.

Over 30,000,000 viewers have watched her performance on this Youtube video: Don’t miss it here.


  1. I love her! She is so interesting. I must get her memoir 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  2. She is different. I could never decide if I like her work or not. But, one can’t but deeply and strongly respect her “process”.

    This video gets me every single time.
    Her and Ulay, the heart knows what the heart knows.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s always about the process. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Someone like this once in my life. Never the two shall meet again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. absolutely, yes. this is what i am trying to teach the kinders. your picture doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s, it all in the process of what you make, try everything and see what works for you and what doesn’t. p.s. – i saw ‘ove’ last night and loved it. )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just wow.


  7. Loved this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Such rich food for thought on a Friday morning. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Intriguing and refreshing! Feel for more.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Did you see where she has hit Alex Jones Infowars today?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m utterly fascinated by this woman. Like Sawsan, I struggle with whether I like her work, but it makes me stop. And that video? I think I alone am responsible for 2 million of the hits. Can’t stop watching it. I go back every few months…

    Liked by 2 people

    • The hardest thing to do is close to nothing because it is demanding all of you.

      She is directly and boldly challenging an audience.

      She needs the audience like air to breathe.

      She slows everyones brain down.

      ~ Trailer for The Artist is Present (Marina Abramović)

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Reblogged this on Jean Genie and commented:
    ‘Later on, I understood why this experience was so important. It taught me that the process was more important than the result, just as the performance means more to me than the object.’



  1. […] via Deep shame, maximum self-consciousness. — Live & Learn […]

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