Marina Abramović says that turning the tragedies of her past into slapstick comedy has been better for her than years of psychotherapy. The legendary performance artist went from crying during every rehearsal to feeling truly free.
In a theatrical piece unveiled earlier this summer in Toronto, The Life and Death of Marina Abramović, the artist retraced her 66 years with a strong focus on the mental and physical abuse she experienced as a child growing up in communist post-war Belgrade.
"Laughter opens up something in you. Through laughter you can take much more truth than you can normally," she said.
Abramović opens up on how her affection-less upbringing made her who she is, why happiness is bad for creativity, and why she has more
stamina now than she did 40 years ago. She also insists that we all need to start thinking about death.
"It's so important. We're taking death away from our life and then we spend doing bullshit because we don't understand how little time we have on this planet."
Actor Willem Dafoe, who has appeared in everything from blockbusters like Spider-Man to art house films like Antichrist, returned to experimental theatre for his role as a demonic figure in Robert Wilson's theater piece about Abramović.
"There was a text, but even the text -- we weren't even sure who was
going to speak it. What were we going to represent? How abstract it was
going to be. That, we had to figure out," he said.
Jian also spoke to the man with the famously impish face earlier this year. Listen here.