Nightsea Crossing Conjunction
Abramovic / Ulay, 1983, 2'07''

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'Nightsea Crossing' is a series of 22 performances that took place between 1981 and 1987, after Ulay and Abramovic had returned from a long period in the Australian outback. These 22 performances took a total of 90 days. The location, the number of days on which the performance would be carried out in a particular place and the colour of their clothing varied, but they always used the same mahogany table and the same two chairs. Ulay and Abramovic sat at either end of the table, with their faces turned towards each other and the audience looking at their profiles. The performances were given in nineteen different locations on several continents. The setting was often a museum and sometimes an open-air environment. They did not talk or eat during the performancs, not even beforehand or afterwards. 'Nightsea Crossing' is about concentration and control over the body. 'Presence. Being present, over long stretches of time, until presence rises and falls, from material to immaterial, from form to formless, from instrumental to mental, from time to timeless.' In 'Nightsea Crossing Conjunction' (April 1983, Fodor Museum, Amsterdam) the rectangular table was exchanged - as a very rare exception - for a round one, made especially for the occasion and wrapped in gold foil. And there was another important exception to the rule. This was the first time that Ulay and Abramovic broke with their duality, by doubling their symmetry with a Lama from Tibet and a member of the Pintubi tribe from the Central Australian Desert. The performance took place centrally beneath the dome of the former Lutheran church that accommodated the Fodor Museum. The four chairs around the table faced north, south, east and west. Four days in a row, the four participants dressed in red or orange, sat still for four hours at a time, without uttering a word. The times of day that the performances were held were sunrise, noon, sunset and midnight, in that order. 'Nightsea Crossing Conjunction' is apparently about the symbolism of the number four. Due to the universal number four, which can be found in all parts of the performance, the artists reached a level of integration into a larger cosmic structure. This was enhanced by the spiritual wisdom provided by the two invited guest Read more...

  • Date: 1983
  • Length: 2'07''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: registration (technique), religion, space, third world/non-western culture, time