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Screening | Marina Abramovic & Ulay, Imponderabilia (1977)

  • Benaki Museum 138 Pireos Athina, 118 54 Greece (map)

Marina Abramović & Ulay, Imponderabilia (1977)
Courtesy of D.Daskalopoulos Collection

Location: First Floor Workshop Space

During this 1977 performance at the Galleria Communale d’ Arte Moderna in Bologna, Italy, the public entering the museum had to pass through the artist’s naked bodies, if they wished to gain access to the gallery. When visitors realized that physical contact with the naked Abramović & Ulay was inevitable and that they had to make a choice between the woman and the man, they tried to at least avoid eye contact. Once the visitors were inside the museum, they realized that they had been filmed with a hidden camera. Moreover, they were confronted with a text on the wall: “Imponderable. Such imponderable human factors as one’s aesthetic sensitivity / the overriding importance of imponderables in determining human conduct.” The text referred directly to the visitors’ behavior at the entrance. This performance revolved around the provoked reaction of the visitors when they entered the gallery. After 90 minutes, the police put an end to this controversial performance, which had actually been intended to last for three hours.