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Marina Abramović in Vienna
Abramović at the screening of Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present during the Vienna International Film Festival 2012via Wiki

Marina Abramović wishes we could all just have a laugh again

The performance artist thinks we’ve lost our sense of humour

There’s not been a whole lot to laugh about recently, which might be expected given the global pandemic going on.

In late July, Marina Abramović spoke with Indian performance artist, Nikhil Chopra, for a live streamed Q&A for the Museum of Art & Photography in Bengaluru, India.

The pair began chatting about what they’ve been up to in the recent months as much of the world has been locked down, and what they’ve been missing most. For the performance artist, she said it was laughter that she was craving... and some dirty jokes.

“The one thing that I’m incredibly much missing, that I see totally disappear, is humour. There’s no humour. There’s no politically not correct dirty jokes. It’s nothing,” she said.

For Abramović, she believes humour has been forgotten given the rising politicisation of the world. She pondered that if we had this mindset in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, much of the art works that came from those eras would have been impossible to create.

Some of Abramović’s most famous works have included her then-partner, the late artist Ulay, holding a bow and aiming an arrow at her chest, as well as the pair standing naked at either sides of a doorway as art fans squeezed between them to enter a gallery.

“You have to open the heart with laughing, and then you can tell the terrible truth after that,” she continued. “There is something on the world right now where there is no humour at all.”

Abramović’s next project is an opera, which will debut on 1 September at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsoper (the Bavarian State Opera). Titled 7 Deaths of Maria Callas, Abramović will pay tribute to her hero, the American soprano Maria Callas, who will die in seven operas.

Watch the full Q&A with Abramović and Chopra below.