Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present

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Marina Abramović. _Lips of Thomas._1975/2005

(Yugoslav, born 1946) Two-channel video (black and white and color, sound)
111 min.
Courtesy Galerie Serge Le Borgne, Paris

MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: Lips of Thomas I performed in '75, and this was the most complicated piece at the time that I made, and looking backwards I see this is very autobiographical, because there's so many elements in this piece that really deals with my biography and Communist background and then also the Orthodox background of my family. It was everything kind of mixed there the cross, the Communist star cut on my stomach, the symbols of the honey and the wine.

When I re-performed this piece I add some more elements. The one important thing I added was shoes, which I walk the Great Wall of China then the stick which I also used in the Great Wall of China. Then the hat which my mother had in the Second World War And then I add the music which was a Russian song, talk about destiny of a Slavic soul, which I play each time after cutting the part of the stomach.

You know when you're a young artist you have this urge to do certain things and you have the ideas, but you don't see continuation and you don't see relation to a piece you've done before.

And only after many years of the work you see how that everything actually fits and everything is logic.So, I never understood how biographical that piece was when I made it in '75, which I understood now in 2005.