An exploration into the collaborative relationship of Marina Abramović and Ulay as they attempted to achieve their artistic manifesto. Challenging the success of this through performance analysis and the rise of Abramović as a solo artist.
Marina Abramović, titled the grandmother of performance art, is known for testing the limits of her body and mind during performances of an ephemeral nature. She encourages her audience to enter into an energy exchange with her as they experience her strong presence in performance. Similar aspects of her solo work can also be found in her collaborative performance art with Ulay, with whom she shared a creative and romantic relationship for 12 years. The couple developed their Art Vital in which they sought to further explore pushing the boundaries of the mind and body in order to become a single, united entity within performance. This study aims to challenge the claimed success of the Abramović/Ulay collaboration and their artistic goal. Through exploration and analysis of their performance art and Abramović’s later solo work, the study seeks to identify the impact of pushing the mind and body to extremes on both the private and public relationship. Additionally, the use of Abramović’s biography, giving personal insight, allows the study to highlight the influence of personal matters on the professional career. The study attempts to draws conclusions about the achievement of the Abramović/Ulay artistic manifesto. It suggests that the couple were unable to leave the ego out of performance as Abramović began to receive more attention in the art world. Furthermore, the removal of male and female roles in performance was also less attainable. As the analysis suggests Abramović appears to become the more dominant artist, as evidenced through her solo career.