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Marina Abramovic & Ulay (active since 1976)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Marina Abramovic & Ulay (active since 1976)

Relation in Space

Marina Abramovic & Ulay (active since 1976)
Relation in Space
each: stamped 'Foto di Piccolo Sillani' (on the reverse)
colophone: signed and numbered 'Marina Abramovic Ulay 17' (along the lower edge)
gelatin silver print, in seven parts, and folder with colophon page
image: 20 x 30 cm.
sheet: 40.5 x 30.5 cm.
Performed on the 16th of July at the Venice Biennale in 1976 and published in 1977, this work is number seventeen from an edition of thirty
M. Abramovic & Ulay, Relation Work and Detour, Amsterdam 1980 (illustrated, pp. 20-25).
M. Abramovic , Artist Body: Performances 1969-1998, Milan 1998 (illustrated, pp. 130-7, 461).
K. Stiles, Marina Abramovic , London 2008 (illustrated, pp. 72 and 73).
K. Biesenbach, Marina Abramovic, The Artist is Present, New York 2010 (illustrated, pp. 92-95).
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

Lot Essay

As veterans of performance art, Marina Abramovic'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.
'Abramovic/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 Abramovic/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' (K. Stiles, 'Cloud with its Shadow', in K. Stiles, Marina Abramovic, London 2008, pp. 73-74).

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