Marina Abramovic & Ulay
Marina Abramovic’ and Ulay, Relation in Time. Originally performed at 1977 for 17 hours at Studio G7, Bologna. Still from 16 mm film transferred to video (black and white, sound), 50:33 min. (c) 2010 Marina Abramovic. Courtesy the Artist and Sean Kelly Gallery/ Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Reperformed continuously in shifts throughout the exhibition Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present at MoMA, 2010.
Marina Abramovic and Ulay have made themselves again and again the topic of performances and actions. Gender specific roles, the opposing models of male and female body are being questioned in public up to its physical and psychic limits. The borderline between art and life seems to be extremely thin, especially considering how often a real danger becomes part of the artistic concept. Marina Abramovic and Ulay irritate profoundly the visitors of a performance when they beat each other until exhaustion or physically clash. The duration of time stretches endlessly so that the shere physical impact is extreme. The performances rely on radical introspection and artistic exhibition at the same time, which only documents their long symbiotic relationship as a couple: «Art Vital—no fixed living-place, permanent movement, direct contact, local relation, self-selection, passing limitations, taking risks, mobile energy, no rehearsal, no predicted end, no repetition.» This artistic credo from 1976 on their body of work entitled «Relation Work» addresses the singularity of their performances. Video is the medium of recording and direct communication, rendering the intensity and duration of the performances.
Rest Energy 1980
MOMA Retrospective Review by Jae Emerling