Expansion in Space
Abramovic / Ulay, 1977, 27'16''

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In 'Expansion in Space' (1977, Dokumenta 6, Kassel), Ulay and Abramovic do not collide with each other, as they did in Relation in Space (1976), but with two free-standing pillars twice their individual body weight. Their goal is to make the pillars move by means of their naked bodies, and in this way to expand the space of action. The two mobile pillars are placed between two fixed ones. At the beginning, Ulay and Abramovic stand back-to-back in the middle of this set-up. Then they simultaneously walk away from each other towards the pillars, and hit them. This process is repeated again and again, so that the mobile pillars gradually move towards the stationary ones. Unlike the other performance videos, here the spectators are in full view, standing around ina large circle. Now and then there is applause, or someone shouts something. As in all of Abramovic and Ulay's works, bodily stamina also plays a major role in 'Expansion in Space'. In this performance, it is Ulay who gives up first. Ulay said later: 'It can happen that it is just not your day and you cannot cooperate as long as you want and you get out of it. That was the rule. It could always change.' After Ulay's withdrawal, Abramovic goes on alone for some considerable time. She is determined to continue moving the pillar that she has been colliding with throughout the performance. In this personal struggle for more space, her walking turns into running, her run-ups become longer and longer, and the force with which she hits the pillar increases. Abramovic continues until she cannot move the pillar anymore. Then she also leaves the room. Read more...

  • Date: 1977
  • Length: 27'16''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: body art, performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: registration (technique), body, movement, space, violence