As veterans of performance art, Marina Abramović's and Ulay's collaborative work often went to extremes. 'Relation in Space' was originally performed at the 38th Venice Biennale in 1976, where the two unclothed artists walked toward and passed each other, slowly gaining momentum and culminating in a violent clash. Presented in a Muybridge-like photographic format, 'Relation in Space (Group of 7)' powerfully captures the sequence of action in this groundbreaking performance.
"Abramović and Ulay's action cannot be copied, repeated or re-enacted without losing its historical integrity and aesthetic elegance, for it was a moment shared and created between two artists, their public and a camera. This work belongs to the 1970s, when the mere presentation of the nude body in a simple action within an art context could elicit authentic excitement and even awe as the public confronted for the first time the radical possibility of the body's visual, non-verbal, non-narrative communication. 'Relation in Space' took fifty- eight minutes to perform and remains a singular, unforgettable event in the history art, and a work that even Abramović / Ulay could not recapture in actions such as 'Interrupting in Space' (January 1977) or 'Expansion in Space' (June 1977), which duplicated many of its formal elements. 'Relation in Space' is one of a handful of unsurpassed actions in the history of Body Art." - Kristine Stiles, author, 'Marina Abramović'
From 1975-88, Marina Abramović and the German artist Ulay performed together, dealing with relations of duality. Abramović and Ulay pioneered performance as a visual art form. Some of their most historic performances married concept with physicality, endurance with empathy, complicity with loss of control, passivity with danger. The body has always been both subject and medium. Exploring physical and mental limits in works that ritualise the simple actions of everyday life, they withstood pain, exhaustion and danger in her quest for emotional and spiritual transformation.
Marina Abramović (b. 1946, Belgrade) is a Serbian conceptual and performance artist. Her work deals with emotions, feminism, and the body’s physicality. Frank Uwe Laysiepen, known as Ulay, (b. 1943, Solingen - d. 2020, Ljubljana) was a German polaroid and performance artist who explored concepts of identity and social constructs of gender.
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