Miskatonic University Press

Marina Abramović's first art lesson

art quotes

Marina Abramović was recently a guest on Desert Island Discs. When she was fourteen her mother took her to Venice; this made her decide she wanted to be an artist, and she asked for oil paints. Her father arranged a lesson with a former Partisan friend who had become a painter.

I remember so well, he cut the canvas but doesn’t put on the frame, just the kind of free canvas, on the floor, and irregular. Then he throws some glue on the canvas, little bit of yellow colour, little bit of red, a patch of blue, and then he put gasoline over the whole thing, and he put the match, and just throw on the canvas, and everything explode. And he looked at me and said, “This is sunset,” and he left. This was the first painting lesson of my life. I mean, for a kid, this is impressive.

A later quote, when Lauren Laverne asks for her thoughts about the 1974 performance piece Rhythm 0:

I hate these kind of questions. I can’t deal with sentimentality. To me, it’s so important: learn the lesson, move on. Learn the lesson, move on.