Monday, March 13, 2017

The Artist is Absent

For my birthday this year, Snow White gave me the hardcover edition of Marina Abramovic's autobiography Walk Through Walls with a lovely inscription. I appreciated the gift, but since I was not aware she had even written a memoir, I did not feel the urgency to start reading right away. I was familiar with her work, of course, in part because my parents were subscribed to ART literally for decades, in part because I often read about high-profile performances, such as The Artist Is Prsent in the media, or saw them advertised. I had never been to any of her performances myself and have to admit that this genre of art is not really my kettle of fish, most of the time. 
When my Mum recently was in Vienna, she saw the book next to my sofa and got quite excited. I know that she loves reading autobiographies of interesting women in general (I do, too), but since my mother is an artist herself, she was of course extra interested. She started leafing through the book and even though she is not all that keen on reading books in English, she asked me if I could lend it to her. I offered to give it to her to read first, but as she was in Vienna by public transport, she did not really fancy carrying this fat hardcover monster and asked me to bring it with me when I visit my parents for Easter. Well, since she was so intrigued, I took the book and started reading...and got completely sucked into the story until I had finished it. It is well-written, interspersed with photos. In a nutshell, it documents the life of a woman completely and utterly committed to her work. Besides, the difficult relationship with her parents and her passionate and ultimately disappointing long-term relationships are deeply moving. 
I am always in awe when somebody lives their passions and feels they have a mission and can't stop until their work is completed, be that horticulture, teaching, or inventing technology - it doesn't matter really. Some people are just so completely consumed by their Master Plan and willing to endure and sacrifice  everything in order to complete it. In comparison, I feel ridiculous leading the "mehp" kind of life of the majority of people who do not burn for what they do in their job that pays the bill and don't really achieve grand things after hours, either. 
I guess New Year's resolutions are just as good in March as they are in January.

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