The artist, 73, talks about embracing mortality, her purely emotional art, spirituality and communism, and sex getting better after the menopause

I’ll be 75 in November. My grandmother, who lived to be 103, told me that 70 is when life starts to be really interesting. You’re free to do whatever you want, you have all the wisdom to do that. What sucks is if you’re sick; but if you’re healthy then life at this stage is incredibly enjoyable.

I think about dying every single day. It’s only when you think about dying that you fully enjoy your life. It means you can’t bullshit; everything that’s not important falls away, and you know death can happen any minute, any time – you are in the last act. You have to think about what you’re going to leave society: as an artist you have that obligation. Because if you have a gift, you have to handle it carefully. The gift isn’t given to you personally, it’s given to you to give to society. You have to think carefully about how you’re going to leave meaningful work behind.

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