Thursday, March 14, 2013

Marina and Ulay

In the 1970s, the lovers Marina and Ulay performed their art out of the van they were living in.

 When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China,  each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.


  1. I loved this doco, and got all excited because I thought Marina Abramovic was coming to Aus around April but I think her work is being performed without her. I must say, I found Ulay really annoying in other scenes!

  2. The artist was in, then she wasn't.

  3. I heard about this bit of performance art a while ago, and although I wouldn't normally go for this sort of thing, I thought it sounded quite good - a bit like sitting in front of the bones of Richard the Third, in a weird sort of way.

    I have to admit that the arrival of Ulay did bring a tear to my eye, even though I knew nothing about the history.

  4. I'd seen a China Wall doco years ago but had never even heard of this performance til I saw it today. Had me in pieces...

    1. Watching this made me breathe out very deeply Sarah, it was very touching.

  5. Profound. Says so much about the human condition.

  6. Precious. Would have even been more wonderful if we hadn't known the backstory.

  7. I Found the clip moving in so much of her clear emotion and pain... But the whole public nature of it made me feel uncomfortable and somewhat irritated..which probably says more about me than it does about It?
    Performance art seems to belittle the personal in this case

  8. Interesting John, there were shades of that for me too. Don't apologise, I didn't make the film! You are right though, reactions to the intimacy on public show says a lot about the viewer as well - in this case yourself, a film guy who revels in the fantastical confection of zombies!

  9. Wow! Assuming that that wasn't staged I was moved by the humanity of it. I have been there. Many of us have. It's some kind of privilidge to have a relationship which canbe so powerful in us. Strangely its in the absense of the other that the emotion is most powerful. For me it has been my late father and my daughter who can do that to me. And yet I have loved the same woman for 40years and won't really fully understand that feeling, that connection with her until .......