Collected Works

1975-86, 8:58 hr, b&w and color, sound
1975-1980, 4:16 hr, b&w, sound
1979-1986, 127 min, color, sound
1983-1986, 155:31 min, b&w and color, sound

The Collected Works is a comprehensive three-volume survey of the performance and video works of Marina Abramovic and Ulay, spanning the years 1975 to 1986.

The three volumes — Performance Anthology (1975-1980), Modus Vivendi (1979-1986), and Continental Videoseries (1983-1986) — include thirty programs.

Each volume presents a series of thematic works, ranging from the artists' individual performances and the Relation Work series of the 1970s, their videotapes and performances of the 1980s, and their final collaborative project on the Great Wall of China.


Performance Anthology (1975-1980)
1975-1980, 4:16 hr, b&w.

This anthology presents a historical survey of Ulay and Abramovic'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 III, 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."

Modus Vivendi (1979-1986)
1979-1986, 2:07:03 hr, b&w and color, sound

Modus Vivendi is the general title that Abramovic and Ulay gave to a series of performances, tapes and Polaroid photographs in the 1980s. Although the artists continued to use their bodies as art objects, the works in this compilation tend to emphasize the metaphorical and the theatrical. They also explore the artists' relationship to the landscape and rituals of other cultures. For example, in Anima Mundi, the artists are seen in dramatically staged poses in a stark architectural landscape in Thailand.

Program 1.
1:33 hr, color, sound.

Communist Body/Fascist Body
That Self
Anima Mundi

Program 2
34:03 min, color, sound

Positive Zero
Night Sea Crossing Conjunction
The Observer with Remy Zaugg

Program 2 includes Nightsea Crossing Conjunction, one of a series of ritualistic performances, begun in 1981 and performed in sites around the world, in which the artists sat across from one another, motionless and silent, seven hours a day for 16 consecutive days. This document records a performance of this piece in Australia.


Continental Videoseries (1983-1986)
1983-1986, 2:35:31 hr, b&w and color

Program 1.

City of Angels 1983, 21:37 min, color, sound
Terra Degli Dea Madre 1984, 15:40 min, color, sound
Terminal Garden 1986, 20:14 min, color, sound

"To have the most original moment of a culture represented as a living being," Ulay wrote, the artists began a series of works, compiled in Program 1, in which they attempted to evoke the essence of a culture through a symbolic representation of time, place, and people.

The "sacred site" for the metaphorical City of Angels is the ruined temple of Ayutthaya in Thailand, where, posed as tableaux vivants, Thai people are captured in super-natural images of striking visual drama. Arrested in moments of ritual gesture, sculpted in time, they are presented as iconic beings who embody the memory and spirit of traditional Thai culture, at once living and dead. A ritualistic text by Rama VI of Thailand is the haunting accompaniment to this cultural elegy.

In Terra degli dea madre, the artists traveled to Sicily to continue their project of creating living representations of a culture. Again the formal, theatrical device of the tableau vivant is used to lyrical effect, in a metaphorical rendering of time and place. Creating a heightened tension from the dualities of motion and stasis, time and timelessness, male and female, the artists suggest an elemental, almost mystical affinity of the people to their culture and land.

Produced at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Terminal Garden is a cultural study that locates the "sacred site" of contemporary America in a technological environment of media and information. As advertising slogans are spoken in a computer-processed voiceover, the camera methodically pans the Terminal Garden, a technological information research center at M.I.T.'s Media Lab. Motionless children have been positioned throughout this matrix of computer terminals and glowing video monitors, suggesting a culture transfixed by the televised and the transmitted.

Program 2.

China Ring 1:38 hr, b&w and color, sound.

Program 2 presents China Ring, an "unedited video notebook" that documents the artists' journey to the Great Wall of China in preparation for their final collaborative project. For this ambitious project, each artist was to walk alone along the length of the Great Wall — Ulay starting from the western end, Abramovic from the east — and eventually meet in the middle.

A MonteVideo/TBA, A&U Production


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