Lisson Gallery

'Maria Callas & Me' – Marina Abramović in Harper's Bazaar Art issue

8 October 2021

Marina Abramovic reveals the profound effect the diva has had on her life –and how it has inspired her new performance.

I was 14, and in my grand-mother’s kitchen, when this female voice came through the Bakelite radio. I didn’t know it was Maria Callas. All I knew was how it made me feel, that voice. I stood up, closed my eyes, and started to cry. I never met her, I never saw her perform live, but from that moment on, I was obsessed.

We are connected, she and I. We have a surprising vulnerability and an enormous strength, which we combine to make art. We are women who can love so much that we could die from a broken heart. I have felt this love, but my work saved me when it did not save her. She died heartbroken and alone.

A part of me is angry with Callas, for letting this love overpower her, for even thinking of giving up her remarkable talent for the man she loved. I believe women should take their power. I always have. If I could, I would have told her to embrace her life, I would have tried to shake her from this strange dream of sorrow. Yet there is still something heroic about her ending.

Read the full piece in the Harper's Bazaar November 2021 Art issue.

Portrait by Filip Van Roe.

'Maria Callas & Me' – Marina Abramović in Harper's Bazaar Art issue
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