We meet the bold Serbian artist for an interview and covershoot in advance of Frieze Art Fair 2010
For her first significant London show in decades, Abramovic is presenting her most punishing early video works – the bloody and dangerous ‘Rhythm’ series of 1973-74 – as well as those she enacted with her partner of nearly 15 years, Frank Uwe Laysiepen (or Ulay, as he became known), alongside her recent solo works in which she more often defies time, rather than death. She seems even more unbreakable in person, her energy belying her 64 years.
Just before we travelled to Madrid for our interview and performance shoot, a curator from New York warned me that Abramovic often breaks the ice by telling dirty jokes. However, this very surreal day, which ends with us taking in an impromptu bullfight, actually begins with a harrowing story about vermin…
Interview: Ossian Ward