Marina Abramović and Ulay - MoMA 2010
Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived 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.
I’ve always found that sharing minutes of silence with people whether it’s a single person or a group is a very powerful moment. You observe the person who’s in front of you and you look at him/her in a very particular way. Or you simply get lost in your thoughts and go wherever the silence takes you. It really depends on one’s ability to see beyond the surface but I would say it’s almost comparable to meditation.
Sometimes, we think we have everything under control but life is full of surprises, beautiful and sad ones. In this very intense moment that you’re going to watch, when you haven’t seen a loved one for years and years, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen. In the 60 seconds they have together, both of them create a very strong and unique connection. You can feel the secrets in their eyes. It starts as a very disturbing and touching eye contact to unfold into something stronger, more beautiful, more physical.