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Abramovic, Marina; Ulay
b 1946 in Belgrade (YU); 1965-70 studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, Belgrade (YU); texts, drawings and conceptual works from 1968; performances from 1973; 1973-75 taught at the Academy of Fine Arts, Novi Sad (YU).
Ulay (F. Uwe Laysiepen)
b 1943 in Solingen; 1962–68 studied photography after an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer; worked in the fields of experimental photography, film and environment until 1975; Professor at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe since 1998.
1976 Marina Abramovic und Ulay start to co-operate as artists and to live together; 1989 the two artists part with a last joint action, the «Great Wall Walk;» both live and work in Amsterdam (NL).
Marina Abramovic and Ulay have made themselves again and again the topic of performances and actions. Gender specific roles, the opposing models of male and female body are being questioned in public up to its physical and psychic limits. The borderline between art and life seems to be extremely thin, especially considering how often a real danger becomes part of the artistic concept. Marina Abramovic and Ulay irritate profoundly the visitors of a performance when they beat each other until exhaustion or physically clash. The duration of time stretches endlessly so that the shere physical impact is extreme. The performances rely on radical introspection and artistic exhibition at the same time, which only documents their long symbiotic relationship as a couple: «Art Vital—no fixed living-place, permanent movement, direct contact, local relation, self-selection, passing limitations, taking risks, mobile energy, no rehearsal, no predicted end, no repetition.» This artistic credo from 1976 on their body of work entitled «Relation Work» addresses the singularity of their performances. Video is the medium of recording and direct communication, rendering the intensity and duration of the performances.