Going as far as cutting her hands with knives in her early 1970s Rhythm performances, blood, sweat, and tears are literally poured into Serbian artist Marina Abramović’s works. Referring to herself as the “grandmother of performance art,” Abramović pushes the physical, mental, and emotional boundaries of humans in a constant search of transcendence and self-transformation. With such intense performances, British Vogue interviewed Marina Abramović for advice on life, style, and her personal recommendations.
Advice on life and style from the Serbian artist.
Where is the best place you’ve ever travelled to?
Como Cocoa Island in the Maldives. You’re in the middle of the ocean with nowhere to go.
Name your biggest vice.
What’s your most extravagant purchase?
A Montblanc fountain pen to sign copies of my first book.
Which film should I watch this weekend?
Theorem. The main character is absolutely free from the judgement of what is good and evil.
If you could raid anyone’s wardrobe, whose would it be?
Tilda Swinton’s. She has an amazing feeling for clothes.
Do you have a signature scent?
I’ve been trying for years to make my own: the smell of lightning after stormy weather. It would be called “Insomnia” because once you put the smell on you, you will never sleep.
You have five minutes to get ready, what do you wear?
How do you get the party started?
Watch the Moca Gala I curated in 2011. We had heads coming out of the table, naked bodies, skeletons… That’s how I start a party.
What’s your go-to dinner party dish?
Coconut crab curry. It’s to die for.
A book that changed your life?
In Search of the Miraculous by Peter D Ouspensky.
How do I know when I am in love?
It’s very simple: you can’t breathe, you can’t sleep, you’re hardly eating, you’re obsessed and you have a strange feeling in your stomach.
What qualities do you look for in a partner?
Honesty and humour.
Share your beauty ritual.
I love to take baths with kosher salt and baking soda or apple cider vinegar, put on
a Korean skincare mask and really soak.
Which artist’s work do you return to over and over again?
Van Gogh and Rothko are close to my heart. Their works make me cry. The best are “The Starry Night” and the Rothko Chapel in Houston respectively.
Your best recent buy?
My boyfriend bought me a beautiful Maison Margiela coat with big holes all over.
Who is your muse?
Tibetan monks, the Indigenous of central Australia and shamans from the Amazon.
How can I make a lasting impression?
Be yourself. Don’t try too hard. Don’t be afraid of anybody and anything. Enter the space with full confidence.
I have 24 hours in Belgrade, what do you recommend I do?
I’m against overplanning – go with an open mind – but personally I like the Old Town.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.