The underlying question in all of this is, of course: why? Why put yourself though such suffering in the name of art? Abramovic has no easy answers to that question. “I am obsessive always, even as a child,” she says, suddenly serious, and, for the first time, pausing for thought. “On one side is this strict orthodox religion, on the other is communism, and I am this little girl pulled between the two. It makes me who I am. It turns me into the kind of person that Freud would have a field day with, for sure.” She hoots with laughter again and reaches for the English tea.
“The brother of my grandfather was the patriarch of the Orthodox Church and revered as a saint. So everything in my childhood is about total sacrifice, whether to religion or to communism. This is what is engraved on me. This is why I have this insane willpower. My body is now beginning to be falling apart, but I will do it to the end. I don’t care. With me it is about whatever it takes.”
compare: the Hunger Artist, Ashley Z’s ‘private performance’, pornography