Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Marina Abramovic "Relation in Time" 1977

Marina Abramovic, born in 1946 in present day Serbia, refers to herself as the grandmother of performance art having been active in this category for over three decades. Marina Abramovic’s video, “Relation in Time” from 1977 is a perfect example of a performance artist dealing with the concept of endurance. In this video, the viewer is able to get a glimpse into a piece that lasted seventeen hours. For the first sixteen hours Abramovic and Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen) sit back to back connected to eachother by their hair without an audience. The audience doesn’t show up until the last hour. This example of endurance is not that much different from an athlete’s idea of endurance. When thinking about athletes, the idea of endurance often makes people think about an individual pushing it as far as they can, but when it comes to performance artists, the concept of endurance is a little different. During an interview Patty Chang states, “Endurance is just something that lasts a little too long” (p124 Interview with Patty Chang by Eve Oishi). There is no question that Abramovic and Ulay push themselves to the extreme by sitting in the same position without moving for seventeen hours. This may not seem like an act of endurance requiring extreme amounts of energy, like a runner for example. However, pushing themselves to last that long is a prime example of an artist testing their limits and abilities.

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