Literal Body/Allegorical Body: Marina Abramović, Ulay, and the Intersubjective Relationship
Literal Body/Allegorical Body: Marina Abramović, Ulay, and the Intersubjective Relationship will provide both sociohistorical context and a philosophical framework for aspects of community and alterity in the works of Marina Abramović and Ulay, situated in relation to performance studies methodologies and art historical narratives. This study examines the dominant art historical narratives around how performance art developed in the postwar period and situates previous scholarship around Abramović/Ulay within them. One understudied aspect of Abramović’s career is the context of the political climate in Yugoslavia, culminating in an aesthetic radicalization through early participatory performances. Abramović’s shift to collaborating with her partner Ulay demonstrates a rhetorical divide in how performance art can be understood more broadly, moving from immersive and specific communal experiences to a more conceptual or abstract understanding of the body as a broadly evocative visual material, with potential for allegorical meaning.