Hans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with Marina Abramović in Work In Progress:
MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: All right, so twenty-one years ago Hans was twenty-one. We met in Hamburg; he was the protégé of Kasper König, and he was curating a large show, and he was completely mad. This was my first impression. I said to myself, Oh my God, this guy is going to do something special, extraordinary; something different than anybody else. Do you remember our meeting?
HANS ULRICH OBRIST: Yes, it was actually when we did the show called the “Broken Mirror,” which was a painting show. It was a big show for me. Until then I had only ever curated an exhibition in my kitchen which only had twenty-nine visitors in three months. “Broken Mirror” was in the Deichtorhallen, and I was kind of spaced out. I had just installed hundreds of paintings, and then Marina and I met that evening in a hotel bar near the railway station.
MA: I remember your life had been totally upset by your sleep schedule because you were reading the biography of Leonardo da Vinci, and da Vinci wrote that if you manage to sleep only fifteen minutes and then wake up, do things, and then sleep another fifteen minutes, but never longer than fifteen minutes, you can create a completely new kind of a life for yourself. When we met, you had been doing this for an entire year, during which you were really on the edge of madness. It was amazing because it’s crazy—fifteen minutes!