Marina Abramović, Ulay

Relation in Time


Werk - Relation in Time
Artist / Artist group
Marina Abramović, Ulay
Relation in Time
video, Analog video
Material / Technique
Betacam SP, b/w, mono
Dimensions / Duration
ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medien

Right at the beginning of the black-and-white video, which shows clips of the performance, a male voice explains the content: Back to back, tied together by their hair, Marina Abramović and Ulay sit in a gallery space for sixteen hours; then the audience enters, and the artist duo sits together for another hour.

Marina Abramović and Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen) are today considered the most important representatives of performance art. They lived and worked together from 1976 to 1988. Together they created numerous, now iconic performances and actions in which they intensely explored archaic cultures and dualistic principles.

In this performance, which took place at Galleria Studio G7 in Bologna, the couple silently explores their relationship and the limits of their psychological and physical resilience. Marina Abramović said in 2010 that the point was to explore together whether the energy of the audience present would transfer to the completely exhausted couple:

“And when after 16 hours when we were really very close to the total exhaustion of our bodies the public was invited. And we wanted to know how we can really use the energy of the public to push our limits even farther and to sit one hour longer. So that actually the entire performance was 17 hours.” [1]

[1] Marina Abramović on the occasion of the major retrospective »Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present« at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2010, available at:

Author: Anna-Maria Drago Jekal