Sunday, May 31, 2015

The power of Love - Marina Abramović & Ulay

From around 1976, Marina Abramović had a long term and intense relationship for about 12 years with Ulay. Over those years they worked very closely together in the world of art and are said to have produced a body of work that is regarded as being among the most conceptually powerful and emotionally challenging in all of Performance Art. In 1988, Abramović and Ulay decided to end their relationship, but they did so in a very unique way. Each of them made a spiritual journey and walked the Great Wall of China, in a piece called The Great Wall Walk, starting from the two opposite ends and meeting in the middle. Abramović described it as: "That walk became a complete personal drama. Ulay started from the Gobi Desert and I from the Yellow Sea. After each of us walked 2500 km, we met in the middle and said good-bye". She has said that she conceived this walk in a dream, and it provided what she thought was an appropriate and romantic ending to a relationship full of mysticism, energy, and attraction.

Ulay in 1972 - Wikipedia

Marina Abramović is a Serbian and former Yugoslav artist based in New York who's work explores the relationship between performer and audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen) is an artist based in Amsterdam and Ljubljana; Ulay received international recognition through his radical actions and Polaroid works from the early seventies, and is also well known for his collaboration performances with Marina Abramović.

In 2010 Marina Abramovic was performing an art piece at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where she sat with a stranger in silence for one minute while directly looking at them, one stranger after another, when Ulay showed up. Her deep focus and concentration on her art was interrupted.

They had not seen each other for twenty two years.

This video shows Marina Abramović's reaction after she opens her eyes and finds Ulay staring at her — it's a very powerful moment to witness.


The song 'Ulay, Oh', by the musical band How I Became the Bomb — heard in the above video — was based on this reunion between Marina Abramović & Ulay.

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