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Themesicon: navigation pathOverview of Media Articon: navigation pathPerformance
Da ist eine kriminelle Berührung in der Kunst (Ulay (Laysiepen, Uwe)), 1976Rufen bis zur Erschöpfung (Gerz, Jochen), 1972Purple Cross for absent now (Gerz, Jochen), 1980
Ausstellung von Jochen Gerz neben seiner fotografischen Reproduktion (Gerz, Jochen), 1973

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venues. While globally televised information continued to gain importance for the formation of society, artists were increasingly placing their stakes on the most direct point of local reference, namely their own bodies.

Performance: Anywhere, anytime

The thin line between personal experience and social situation was thematized above all in the performances of Abramovic/Ulay. Their motto—«Art Vital—no fixed livingplace/ permanent movement/direct contact/local relation/self-selection/passing limitations /taking risks/mobile energy/no rehearsal/no predicted end/no repetition»[36]—underscored in particular the mental dimension of their own work and the risks it involved. The duo accomplished what probably amounts to the most consistent and longest series of performances, running under the invariable motto «no rehearsals» and exploring in multifarious form the border between power and impotence, between the self and others, between watching passively from the sidelines or actively intervening. While their work as a couple focused on the mental dimensions of extreme physical experiences over a sustained period of time, in his solo


action «Da ist eine kriminelle Berührung in der Kunst» (1976) Ulay perpetrated and documented on video a real-life art robbery as a critical reflection on the mass media and the museum as a bourgeois institution. He deliberately violated the museum rule of «Please do not touch» in order to make the predictable reaction of the media and tabloid press part of his action and the aftermath. Initially, performances were held primarily outside the traditional art venues. They extended into even the most private spaces, and tried out diverse approaches.

Performances delivered alone in front of the video camera for audiences that would see them at a deferred point in time insisted on their status as art and were suspicious of audience participation—see Bruce Nauman's early films and video tapes or Jochen Gerz' «Rufen bis zur Erschöpfung» (1972). Other works demonstrated how predictably violently audiences responded when confronted with technical apparatuses ( Jochen Gerz, «Purple Cross for absent now» 1979). Street actions barely noticeable («Ausstellung von Jochen Gerz neben seiner fotografischen Reproduktion» 1972) contrasted with provocative incursions into the public domain

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