Balance Proof
Ulay / Marina Abramovic , 1977, 8'48''

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The location of 'Balance Proof' (December 1977) was the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in Geneva, Switzerland. In the registration of this performance, Abramovic and Ulay can be seen holding a double-sided mirror, taller than themselves, upright between their naked bodies. They are both responsible for keeping the mirror erect. Because, during the 30 minutes of the performance, Ulay and Abramovic are never quite certain that the other is still there: they cannot see each other. Is only one of them keeping the mirror from falling, or are they doing this together? And how long will it take before the mirror falls to the floor? Abramovic is the first to back away. Her attitude is one of watchful expectancy. The mirror could indeed have fallen. Now that Ulay is supporing the mirror alone, it proves to be more difficult to keep it in balance without making any movement. Then he, too, quickly backs away from the mirror, which falls down, away from him. The audience is clearly shocked when the large mirror hits the floor with a crash. It does not break. The relatively short duration of 'Balance Proof' is remarkable. Because the registration is cut to just over eight minutes, it is unclear how long Ulay was alone with the mirror. Considering their stamina in the other works of the 'Relation work' series, Ulay and Abramovic could probably have kept it going longer than they did here, in 'Balance Proof'. It is also certain that no time frame had been agreed upon beforehand, in view of the 'golden rule': 'No rehearsal, no predicted end, no repetition'. Read more...

  • Date: 1977
  • Length: 8'48''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: body art, performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: registration (technique), body, communication, love