14 May 2015

As a performer, I owe a debt to Abramović and other artists of her generation as pioneers of the form. “Pioneer” is a difficult word: when we use it we run the risk of neutering an artist by historicising them. But the fact remains: I deeply respect Abramović as a pathfinder and an Elder. I likewise respect her as a woman artist who has continually affronted a phallocentric art world, and I respect her as an artist working in a non-material and temporal form, in a field dominated by the capital value of objects.

Abramović's work possesses a conceptual clarity and urgency which inspires me deeply. Likewise, her investment in risk and in radical vulnerability. This language of risk that we work with as performers: Abramović was among the first crop of artists to rigorously embrace that language and push its limits. Abramović is a force of nature: none of her work is simple. I don't like all of it. For that fact alone I hugely value her practice, because I'm not interested in liking things. I'm interested in being moved. All of Abramovic's work moves me to something. None of it is easy, but all of it is powerful.


– S.J Norman