Anima Mundi
Marina Abramovic / Ulay, 1983, 7'02''

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'Anima Mundi' (February 1983, Bangkok, Thailand) consists of two tableaux vivants that were recorded at the same location. Both performances take place in the open air and are filmed from the top right of the picture. In the first part, Ulay stands at the top of a flight of stairs, while Abramovic is on the ground, some distance away. They are standing motionlessly, with their arms reaching out to each other. They hold this position until Abramovic's shadow climbs the stairs. The second part shows Abramovic sitting on the topmost stair, with her red dress spread out around her. Ulay, dressed entirely in white, is lying crosswise over her lap, which makes his body look like an 'M'. 'Anima Mundi' exudes tranquillity due to the fact that Ulay and Abramovic do notmove in either part. Both the background music and the location where the performance was recorded contribute to this restfulness. Because of the postures assumed by Ulay and Abramovic, the atmosphere of Anima Mundi is contemplative as well as dramatic. Their positions are frozen, so that they are unable to reach each other. When Ulay lies across Abramovic's lap, the association with a Pietà becomes inevitable, thanks to the posture and clothing. 'Anima Mundi', which literally means 'soul of the earth', is about the relationship between man and woman. 'Anima' is the female soul, and 'animus' the male. This is comparable with the Chinese concept of 'yin yang'. Traditionally, nature and the earth are supposed to be female, which explains the female form in the title. In a way, the image of the Pietà, which fascinated Ulay and Abramovic, is also about the relationship between man and woman. The Virgin, being the female symbol for nature and therefore for the soul of the world, has called her son back to her side. He lies across her lap, dead. Read more...

  • Date: 1983
  • Length: 7'02''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: registration (technique), body, gender, religion, third world/non-western culture, western culture