Two artists/performers Marina Abramović and Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen) met and fell in love in 1976 in Amsterdam. They immediately started working together and led “collective existence” that helped them create and stay together for 12 years. They wore the same clothes and did not have any secrets from each other. For their performance “Death of self” the artists connected their mouths with a special apparatus and breathed in exhales of each other running out of oxygen after 17 minutes and fainting. The project explored the ability of an individual to consume the individuality of another person, changing and erasing it.
In late 1980’s Marina and Ulay encountered difficulties in their relationship, preventing them from working and living their lives fully. To finish their love story in grand artistic manner, they decided to perform one last soul-searching trip together to have closure. Starting from the opposite ends of the Great Wall of China they met in the middle hugged and parted forever…each walking 2500 kilometers prior.
In 2010, Marina Abramović had a solo retrospective performance at MoMA in New York called “The Artist is Present” exchanging long gazes with anyone who volunteered to sit in front of her. The entire performance lasted 716 hours and 30 minutes and Marina has looked into the eyes of 1500 exhibition visitors. The only gaze that truly counted though was one that caught her by surprise:
To learn more about Marina Abramović, please visit the website of Sean Kelly Gallery and watch an excellent documentary on the artist. Another resource for Marina Abramović’ work is Artsy, an excellent web art project that features Abramović’s biography, over 70 of her artworks, exclusive articles and up-to-date exhibition listings. Artsy is a new discovery for me and so far I am impressed! It is one of the best platforms online to learn about art, explore current and past exhibitions as well as discover local art fairs and galleries to start your very own collection.