Marina Abramović & Ulay
On Their Manifesto ‘ART VITAL’
“No rehearsal. No predicted end. And no repetition.”
In 2018 performance artists and form er couple Marina Abramović and Ulay talked about their manifesto ‘ART VITAL,’ a crucial backbone of their joined work. Read more …
“I think the manifesto was one of the most important, most revolutionary statements in that time,” says Marina Abramović to her former partner in love and art, Ulay. “We made something that nobody dared to.” In their early years together, the couple decided against having a fixed living space and started living in a van. “I think most artists at the time had studios and ateliers. So, they developed their concepts and ideas working in solitude. Which, at the time, was unthinkable for us,” says Ulay.
Marina Abramović continues to share how getting rid of their belongings because there wasn’t space in the van was “incredible”: “If you’re in the studio, you have things. You have art pollution. You are creating too much stuff.” Ulay agrees with this. The manifesto became a permanent condition of their legendary performances at the time. Ulay says: “I think, at the time, we wanted to make a radical statement in the tradition of the earlier, great artists groups. And I think we succeeded.”
Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen, b.1943 – d.2020) was a German artist who was based in Amsterdam, Holland, and Ljubljana, Slovenia. Ulay received international recognition for his work as a photographer, mainly in Polaroid, from the late 1960s, and later as a performance artist, including his collaborative performances with Marina Abramović from 1976 to 1988. His work has continuously dealt with politics, identity, and gender. In 2016 Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany, held the first major retrospective show of his work ‘Ulay Life-Sized.’ In 2020 the Stedelijk Museum held the largest-ever and first international post-humous, retrospective exhibition of his work ‘Ulay Was Here.’
Marina Abramović (b. 1946) was born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, and is now based in New York. She began her work as a performance artist in the early 1970s and is now regarded as one of the most important artists in the field. Her work explores the relationship between the performer and the audience, the limits of the body, and the possibilities of the mind. Her retrospective ‘The Artist is Present’ at MoMA, New York, in 2010 gave her a wide international breakthrough. In 2017 the retrospective exhibition ‘The Cleaner’ was shown at Moderna Museet in Stockholm and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark, among other places in Europe. Marina Abramović is set to have a major exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, the first-ever UK exhibition spanning her life’s work.
Marina Abramović and Ulay were interviewed by Kasper Bech Dyg in upstate New York at Marina Abramović’s home over ten days in August 2018 for the film ‘No Predicted End.’
Directed, edited, and produced by Kasper Bech Dyg
Camera: Jakob Solbakken
Additional Camera: Kasper Bech Dyg
Music: Simon Dokkedal
Sound Mix: Torsten Larsen
Colour Grading: Klaus Elmer
Graphic Design: Louisiana Design Studio
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2022
Louisiana Channel is supported by Den A.P. Møllerske Støttefond, Ny Carlsbergfondet, C.L. Davids Fond og Samling and Fritz Hansen.
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