The past 40 years of Marina Ambramović’s life has made for an exciting yet controversial body of work. Now just shy of her 70th birthday, the “Grandmother of Performance Art” sat down with German publication Tagesspiegel to discuss her extensive repertoire.
Reflecting on her decision to not have a family, Ambramović said she felt “totally free” by refraining from the pressures of womanhood that so many other women submit to. “I have no husband, no family,” she said, before talking about abortion.
“I had three abortions because I was certain that it would be a disaster for my work.” she told Tagesspiegel. “One only has limited energy in the body, and I would have had to divide it. In my opinion that’s the reason why women aren’t as successful as men in the art world. There’s plenty of talented women. Why do men take over the important positions? It’s simple. Love, family, children—a woman doesn’t want to sacrifice all of that.”
She continued, discussing the discipline she instilled in herself as a practicing artist. “I am the artwork,” she said. “I can’t send a painting, so I send myself.” Revisit her iconic performance, The Artist is Present, below.