Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present

Marina Abramović and Ulay. _Imponderabilia._ Originally performed in 1977 for 90 min. Galleria Comunale d’Arte Moderna, Bologna. Still from 16mm film transferred to video (black and white, sound). 52:16 min. © 2010 Marina Abramović. Courtesy Marina Abramović and Sean Kelly Gallery/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Reperformed continuously in shifts throughout the exhibition Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present at MoMA, March 14-May 31, 2010

Marina Abramović and ULAY. Imponderabilia. 1977/2010

Marina Abramović (Yugoslav, born 1946)
and ULAY (German, born 1943) Performance. Reperformed continuously in shifts throughout this exhibition for a total of over 700 hours.
Courtesy Marina Abramović and Sean Kelly Gallery

GLENN LOWRY: On November 30, 1975, Marina Abramović met Uwe Laysiepen, an artist known as Ulay. As fate would have it, the two of them shared the same birthday.

MARINA ABRAMOVIĆ: I was invited to come to Amsterdam for the television program on body art.

I was one of the first East European artists doing body art. So, it was like the first woman walking on the moon somehow.

I arrive on my birthday, and I remember very well that my grandmother said to me, everything you get on birthdays is important. It's like destiny. And the first person I met, it was Ulay.

So, the same evening, we really fall in love with each other. This was the really very important period of my life, which took 12 years. Imponderabilia is a collaboration piece with Ulay.

The idea was the artist as a door of the museum. We was invited for the big Performance Festival in the Museum in Bologna at that time. And, we decide to rebuild the main entrance of the museum, smaller, and stood there completely naked, so the public who have come to the museum to see the performances have to make a choice to face one or another of us, because the entrance is so narrow they could not go frontally.

The performance was to be six hours, but only after three hours, the police came and they asked us for the documents, for the passports. Well, of course, we didn't have. And that was the end of that piece.

It’s re-performed now with the four couples during the show. And this really important how that one piece which was made in '77 can function in 2010, and what kind of reaction and response the public will have. We will know only this at the end of the show.

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