Marina Abramović – Ulaj: konstrukcija Trećeg Sopstva izvan samodovoljnosti para / Marina Abramović – Ulaj: The Construction of Third Self and the Self-Sufficiency of the Couple


  • Svetlana Racanović



Marina Abramović, Ulay, That Self, imaginary anatomy, assemblage


The twelve-year collaborative practice between Marina Abramović and Ulay (Franck Uwe Laysiepen) was a chain of constant changes, of transformative strategies and practices of living and art-making. Their relationship, with its dynamic, often dramatic and explosive effects, unfolded in roundabouts and leaps, unexpected turns, regroupings, intense discharges, ecstatic accelerations as well as in controlled
decelerations designed to recharge, reorganize and revitalize their capacities for new flights and new expansions of socially-constructed or self-imposed boundaries, boundaries both of themselves and their relationship. Their early performances (a phase they called Warriors) were extreme, furious and unflinching explorations of capacities of the body. These radical ‘exploitations’ of the body constructed but also permanently destabilized, challenged the relationship as unity, equality, mutual harmonizing and balancing: they destabilized the ‘self-sufficiency of the couple’. Their provocative, productive
flights outside themselves, outside their relationship and integrative openings towards the outside, towards other bodies, constructed or rather ‘birthed’ a new, third body, which they called That Self. This newly-created entity, borne out of the dynamic, transformative, rebellious union of the two through a series of performances, was an entity created from them, and in turn regenerated, recreated their relationship. That Self freed and intensified capacities of their bodies, actualized their unknown and latent powers and afforded Marina Abramović and Ulay the possibilities of making new, flexible assemblages, hybrid configurations that involved other bodies, human and non-human, animate and inanimate, material and virtual.

Author Biography

Svetlana Racanović

Faculty of Media and Communications, Singidunum University, Belgrade



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How to Cite

Racanović, S. (2023). Marina Abramović – Ulaj: konstrukcija Trećeg Sopstva izvan samodovoljnosti para / Marina Abramović – Ulaj: The Construction of Third Self and the Self-Sufficiency of the Couple. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (11), 69–79.