Ulay and Marina Abromović are performance artists. Their lives, a performance. Love, a performance. Their goodbyes and hello-agains, a performance.
They first met in Amsterdam in 1976, and performed together for more than a decade. Many of their performances were done, literally naked, such each standing naked in a small doorway, facing each other, so that patrons of a museum have to squeeze between them, making a choice of which one of their bodies to face. Or, here they are, naked again, this time facing away from each other, moving walls by coming together and apart, together and apart.
In 1988, after several tumultuous years, they mutually agreed to end their relationship. This too must be a performance, they decided, as well as a spiritual journey. Each of them walked the Great Wall of China — from opposite ends. Ulay started from the Gobi Desert and Abramović from the Yellow Sea. After each of them walked 2500 km, they met in the middle for one final hug, said good-bye, and departed for good. Together and apart once more.
In the video above, they had not seen each other for 24 years. Marina was performing a three-month endurance piece at MOMA titled The Artist Is Present. Unbeknownst to Marina, in walks Ulay. This is what happens.
Life is usually not meant to be performance. Yet in breaking down stereotypes, we look for the truths of mens inner lives. And we have often asked the question on The Good Men Project: “When was the last time you cried?” No performances, just real tears, by men. Here are some answers, and here are some more.