Marina Abramovic and Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen) are among the pioneering figures of performance art, a mode of creative expression they helped define during the 1970s. After meeting in Amsterdam in 1975, they formed an intense collaborative relationship, both romantically and artistically, that lasted between 1976 and 1988. Together, they explored the limits of consciousness and of physical and psychic endurance through human relationships. Combining ethics and aesthetics, their work blurs the boundaries and limits of art and life, and remains beyond question one of the most influential and powerfully striking practices in the history of contemporary art. The couple separated in 1988, and marked the end of their relationship with a highly symbolic performance in which each walked the length of the Great Wall of China, travelling from either end until they met in the middle for a final goodbye before walking back in opposite directions.

Modus vivendi, 1985, 2 colour Polaroïd prints.
© Ulay Abramovic / SOCAN (2022) • Photo: David Lubarsky