Performance Anthology (1975-1980)

1975-1980, 4:16 hr, b&w, sound

This two-part anthology presents a historical survey of Abramovic and Ulay's individual and collaborative performance pieces. The works span the years 1975 to 1980, from the artists' early body-based performances and actions through their rigorous Relation Work pieces.

Program 1. Four Performances by Abramovic (1975-1976)
60 min, b&w, sound

Art must be beautiful, Artist must be beautiful, 1975, 14:06 min, b&w, sound
Freeing the Voice, 1976, 14 min, b&w, sound
Freeing the Memory, 1976, 15:19 min, b&w, sound
Freeing the Body, 1976, 9:08 min, b&w, sound

Program 1 documents four of Abramovic's solo works, exercises in which her body is the vehicle for a rigorous testing of the self — violently brushing her hair and her face, vocalizing until she can no longer breathe, intoning a stream-of-consciousness flow of memories, moving to a drumbeat until she literally drops from exhaustion.

Program 3. 14 Performances — Relation Work (1976-1980)
2:46 hr, b&w and color, sound

Relation in Space, 1976, 14:35, b&w, sound
Talking about Similarity, 1976, 10:07 min. b&w, sound
Breathing in, Breathing out, 1977, 11:30 min, b&w, sound
Imponderabilia, 1977, 9:53 min, b&w, sound
Expansion in Space, 1977, 14:18 min, b&w, sound
Relation in Movement, 1977, 13:18 min, b&w, sound
Relation in Time, 1977, 12 min, b&w, sound
Light/Dark, 1977, 6:38 min, b&w, sound
Balance Proof, 1977, 8:43 min, b&w, sound
AAA-AAA, 1978, 9:50 min, b&w, sound
Incision, 1978, 10:25 min, b&w, sound
Kaiserschnitt, 1978, 7 min, b&w, sound
Charged Space, 1978, 8:24 min, b&w, sound
Three, 1978, 10:02 min, b&w, sound

The Relation Work project, documented in Program 3, is a series of highly charged conceptual performances in which the artists used their bodies to explore and transcend physical, mental and psychological limitations through endurance and risk. The artists test the relation of male and female energies in time and space, pushing the limits of body and self: They breathe each other's breath; slap each other across the face; repeatedly smack their nude bodies headlong into pillars.

In 1976 the artists defined their Relation Work project as follows: "Art Vital: No fixed living place, permanent movement, direct contact, local relation, self-selection, passing limitations, taking risks, mobile energy."

Available on

1975-86, 8:58 hr, b&w and color, sound