I saw an early performance of her Imponderabilia at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1977, and, unlike now, where basically the experience is of having to choose between turning your back to a man or to a woman, what was gripping in that original performance, which of course she did with Ulay, was that not only did you feel you were invading private space--and were forced to be brutal about it--but you also felt you were interrupting a relationship, literally standing between two lovers.
It would be unbelievably exciting if you could actually perform Imponderabilia in a shopping mall.
Similarly, in the upstairs galleries, Imponderabilia
, 1977--which originally forced audiences to pass between a nude man and woman to enter the gallery space--was set off in a corner: The performers were in the same gallery but not in the same social space as audiences, who could just look if they wished before perusing the rest of the show--as viewers walking the space, as viewing minds able to be separated from bodies.
(by Abramovic and Ulay), 1977, the viewer has to decide which nude body to face while wiggling sideways through the narrow doorway, making a quick calculus of gender identification and object choice.
5) Rather than dispersing authorship, the very structure of the retrospective requires pulling Imponderabilia
back into ego--under the individual sign of Abramovic--thereby prizing it from the ego-neutralizing team that once constituted its integral meaning.