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MA: Yes. It parallels those stages of attaining complete emptiness. In the end, at ground level, you are the most powerful, though empty and vulnerable. The most important breakthrough for me was the idea to go from up to down, and not down to up. It’s about humility. Our culture is so much about building up the ego of the artist. But it’s not you who is important, it’s the work. The ego is actually an obstacle to the work. In India this is somehow deeply understood. You have to go through a process of incredible discipline to get to a state of complete emptiness. At the lowest level, there is nothing. For a performance artist this is the most powerful tool. Then the art is truly the artist and not about the objects or props.

DE: But this is different from the ego?

MA: Yes, the artist should be empty and vulnerable, available and accessible. For me that’s the point of the piece. Our culture is so much about labels, and the artists are made into Hollywood stars.



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