Marina Abramovic and Ulay

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Written by: Justin Fox
© 2010 Scott Rudd

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.

About the Author

Justin Fox
I like to create things. I’m into everything Cars, Bikes and Design. In the 80′s I was into skating, mountain biking, and metal. I’ve worked for myself for over a decade. I’m the founder of Australian INfront, JDM Style Tuning and


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  1. emily xyz

    wow. This is so amazing.

    • Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that the comments are all posted later this year??? Me thinks there’s something wrong here! … Richard L

      • rubyfoo

        Methinks its the European system where the month goes in the middle.

      • Bob

        European date format. It’s all correct.

        • Miranda

          I’m amazed that the replies are only about the date. You all have missed the beauty and it’s a pity.

          • What a strange assumption, Miranda, that if we didn’t comment on the beauty we didn’t see it and weren’t moved by it.

          • Heather Queary

            Miranda, I saw the beauty as your eyes lit up. You both showed true love for each other without saying one word. Very beautiful and thank you for sharing.

          • Michelle

            Exactly. The dates has been that way for years, generations, centuries it will never change. Anyways people are missing the point as usual. The people who commented in regards of the dates proved once again to me how dumb some humans are…

          • I take exception to the suggestion that commenting on the date format here is a sign of either stupidity or inability to recognise beauty. It’s plausible that people watched the video and wept, then scrolled down and saw the first reply to the first comment, and decided to inform others that date formats are different internationally. Your need to decry these comments makes me uncomfortable.

      • Looks to me like Emily’s post was made four days ago and yours a few hours ago…

      • Nellybop

        Richard darling, this post is on a foreign website. Foreign countries like England, etc, put the month in the middle of the date. This article was posted on 3/8/2013 in America but 8/3/2013 in Europe. I encourage you to travel more my friend :)

        • you Americans are the only people who,as far as I know ,put the month first!! can anyone tell me why,also ,on the original subject,how could he be so mean to just show up like this and trash her emotions so well!!! awesome stuff,I could relate to her reaction ….;)

          • i thought he did a lovely thing

          • Her face lit up upon seeing hem. The tears arrived after. Why? Only she knows. But she reached for him, and he responded. I saw love here. March 13, 2013

          • James Fleming

            Americans would say “it’s march seventh 2013” so naturally we write it as 3/07/2013.

          • Whitney Von Hester

            >>>>>”YOU AMERICANS” hahaha, It’s not like any of us Chose it to be that way! Some self annointed guy always makes the decisions and we always have to fight for our rights constantly,haha. I’m so used to seeing it, I didn’t even realized yes, the current day then month and year makes alot more sense.. But hey! TomAto TomOto…….. same thing. But anyways, What a beautiful video clip! I want them to be together again! =)

          • Nextbloc Girl

            The visit was not a total surprise for Abramovic. Ulay had been invited as a guest of honour and Abramovic was aware of it.

          • Brookebrooke

            OH MY GOD! Did anyone actually comment on the video? As far as I can see its just a bunch of comments on a silly date format turf war. “It’s better the way we do it…” blah, blah blah. Don’t care. In fact nothing is more annoying when threads are clogged up by dumb things like this. If anyone has anything to say that actually has to do with the video that would be cool……

          • YlocanaBelle

            that’s exactly what I thought Paul Eckert. the nerve of that man to simply show up for a minute and leave putting her in a situation where she can’t talk about things. I’m surprised a man realized this. kudos to you! 😉

          • @YlocanaBelle:
            How condescending to all men!

            I, for one, and as a woman, did not see it this way. I put it down to differences in interpretation between individuals.

          • Robert Christe Jr

            He transformed the art, he added the color to the canvas…

          • Debbie

            They are together again. I think he still loved her and had the chance to let her know

          • Jim P.

            Great to hear they are together. I gave up on my love 35 years ago and have regretted it since. I hope they remain happy forever!

        • It makes more since the way the Europe does it.

        • @Brookebrooke: just waiting on your contribution, then….

        • Aida

          never laughed this much

      • @richard, FYI the dates are correct. Pretty much everywhere else in the world uses the format of DAY / MONTH / YEAR. It’s the United States that writes it the other way of Month / Day / Year =)

        • In East Asia (at least) it’s Year / Month / Day, which makes more sense in the digital age. Think about it. That’s also how addresses are written in Asia, from largest region to smallest region. It’s refined specification. The US system is at least better than the European format at organizing dates numerically for extended periods of time, and East Asia even better for the digital age we live in.

        • Kate


          • I am so horrified that anyone is so bothered by discussion of date format that they have to vehemently express their horror.

          • THANK YOU!

          • marco

            watch the vid … I did and I leave in silence, that was beautiful and heartbreaking.

          • Devaki Nancie Herbst

            While I wouldn’t use horrified, I found myself amazed that only a few respondents shared their feelings about the beautiful love unfolding before us in this video. What genuine love, respect, longing, and remembering was exchanged between the two former lovers. What great good fortune it was for them to meet again by gazing into each other’s eyes. My heart aches with love for them both. Such tenderness and memories tis evokes in me.

          • Miranda

            I am with you Kate.

      • kina

        it’s done non-American style – day/month/year.

      • elodie

        That’s because it’s autumn in Australia, obviously, so it is later to them. Yes.

      • Jalapeno

        it’s DD/MM/YYYY not MM/DD/YYYY

      • naomi

        The 12th of march is not later this year it’s today..This is the way most of the world writes dates apart from the USA :

      • Kerri E

        That’s just European dating, Mr. Lee – day, month, year. :)

      • European dating. 3/8/2013 is listed as 8/3/2013, and so on.

      • Southpaw

        Yes Richard, apparently you’re in the future, because according to your post, it will be Christmas in just 22 days! LOL…

      • Lucas Jans

        You are American, like myself. But only our country puts the month first and then the day. This is an Australian site.

      • angelie


      • Anna

        No, the dates are correct. In Australia (and mostly everywhere else other than the USA) the date is written Day/Month/Year.

      • Maria

        It’s just a different date format (DAY/month/YEAR) instead of (month/DAY/year) that’s more common in the US :)

      • Nicole

        I think you mean they’re being posted with the CORRECT time format. DD/MM/YYYY

      • Richard – The dates aren’t from later this year, they’re just following the international format, which goes date/month/year rather than the US month/date/year.

      • nothing wrong there. the date was just posted day first before the month. March 12 2013 :)

      • Alaina

        The format is probably date, month, year

      • Andrea

        Wow, Richard, I’m sorry. The two posts before mine didn’t show up at the time I replied, and if I knew 20 others were going to reply I wouldn’t have done so >.<

        • Anna

          Yeah, when I replied, there weren’t any responses so I didn’t realize that so many would pop up. Yikes! Richard, I hope you didn’t think everyone was jumping down your throat!

        • Levanah

          Thank you!

      • elizabeth

        Richie Lee, you must be from long branch :)

      • sarah murphy

        March 12, 2013. Written by almost everyone as 12/3/2013, with the notable exception of the Americans, of course.

      • Stefny

        after the 500 posts about what is not wrong is the date, I think he would get it….

      • Petarrez

        They’re using the european time format instead of the international standard of YYYY/MM/DD which is favored by the US and Asian governments, as it reads logically from the most broad time measurement down to the most precise, so that the correct script for a precise date/time would be YYYY/MM/DD:HH:MM:SS… Either way, it kinda misses the power of the emotions involved in this video.

      • James Fleming

        I like how about 30 people have answered your question and still there’s people who have to have their voice heard

      • Richard, look at the big discussion you have created here about some stupid months and years!! Did you see the same video i did???? Did it touch you in any way?? How can you only talk about formats of dates when something so beautiful has happaned on this video..and in real life!? In my opinion, you must be such a cold and distant personne, or maybe because its too hard for you to watch an emmotional viedo such as this, you must have problems with your emotios, they must be hard to come out.. who knows.. Just feel more and stop worring about silly things that dont care a bit. Good luck with life. ….. Rosa (from Portugal)

        • Whoa. Date formats might be banal, but to assume that Richard and perhaps some of the people who replied are cold, is cold. How is it any less trivial to comment on these date format comments?

        • Beautiful (and terrible) things happen all the time. Sometimes we have a response to these things that we can put in words, sometimes we don’t. I had only tears for this video, not of sadness but just of raw emotion. I didn’t feel the need to say that, whereas Richard had a genuine question.

    • Pablo

      How can all these folks below witness something so beautiful and then discuss date formats? Strange

      • Lisilu

        I felt the same way! Intimacy sure makes people uncomfortable.

        • Andrea

          Seriously? One person asks a question, others answer in a row because comments don’t show up immediately, and you assume all of those people have trouble with human emotions?

          • Lisilu

            Never said all of those people have trouble with human emotions. Your words, not mine :)

          • Andrea

            Indeed, you said “Intimacy sure makes people uncomfortable.” Seemed like a similar sentiment, and a strange conclusion to draw from the fact the people commented on something other than the content of the video.

        • Andrea

          Indeed, you said “Intimacy sure makes people uncomfortable.” Seemed like a similar sentiment, and a strange conclusion to draw from the fact that people didn’t commented on something other than the content of the video.

          • Andrea

            Please disregard the double post, it looked like this one was never going to post so I re-posted.

      • Jill

        Seriously……..go figure…….

      • kristin

        yes! agree. beautiful,,,and, then? did it go unnoticed?!

      • Margaret

        Pablo, I thought the same thing….I scrolled down to read comments and they are all about the date format…. This video is, indeed, beautiful……..

      • TGC

        I felt the same…I thought people would leave a note about the clip, not about the date formats?! Beautiful emotions between two people, but what touched me the most was the fact they walked the Chinese Wall before they ended their relationship.

      • i agree Pablo……fascinating.

      • Andrea

        What’s more trivial: answering someone’s question, or making sure everyone knows you’re surprised that people answered someone’s question?

        Some of us didn’t feel we had anything to say here, in direct response to this video. It’s not a statement, it’s the lack of one.

      • Tia

        Exactly my thoughts! Who cares about date formats, or who is right and who is wrong? It would seem idiots are Universal.

    • James G

      Bit contrived to be honest. Would’ve liked to have seen it without the prescribed “poignant” music. Turned it into a clip from x-factor and the likes.

      • Flavia

        Agreed…it even feels staged, let’s keep in mind it’s an art “happening”, a performance after all…

    • Meth

      wow. i cant believe you think that, what is wrong with people these days.. f’ing insane.

  2. What happened next!? :) That was SO beautiful. What a moment to capture. Thank you.

  3. William

    Vibes were so strong I experienced emotional intensity and tears came to my eyes.Rare and wonderfull.

  4. WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT?! Did they talk after the show? Are they seeing each other now? What?! What?!!!

    • Mark D

      Most likely they did talk. What the video doesn’t tell us is that they met up long before the show and he actually offered to help set up before the show. Him sitting in wasn’t planned though.

      • Wow, that’s sooo not as cool then. I took this as the article suggested–that this was the first time they’d seen each other in decades. Darn.

      • Nancy Lindsey

        It was beautifully emotional, But,i If this is true, I am disappointed. I believe it is a common dream (magical thinking, actually) to “run in” to a past love after so many years. If this was orchestrated in any way, it is a fraud, and disingenuous to post it as if it was spontaneous.

    • Lawrence Queen

      in “that Hamilton Woman” after the death of Lord Nelson, the suoerb vivien Liegh, reduced to a street hag, responded: “There is no then. There is no after.” one of the greatets lines ever from a story of shattered love.

  5. So very beautiful… and profound

  6. Jerzy

    “because we never stop silently loving those who we once loved out loud”

  7. Deeply moving, even the anticipation of it. The way that they had parted was exquisitely intense and filled with intrigue. To come before one another like this, well, I think that their emotional control and elegance of carriage were superb. I’m left sobbing and wishing for a happy ending… as usual.

  8. Marilyn Beech

    Real, moving, beautiful. Thank you for showing me this.

  9. catherine

    Yes very moving – but did it really need the music? They didn’t have it in the gallery, there was none played for any of the other people who sat with her – why did we need it for this part of the film? Very manipulative!

  10. Denise

    Hard to write through the tears. This has tugged at my deep emotions yet again! Every time I see it reminds me how precious a moment taken in time is.

  11. Great post, very moving!

  12. What a wonderful moment caught on camera!

  13. Left me in tears, moments are all that matters…

  14. I hope that wasn’t the end of their reconnection. But you could feel the intense connection just jumping off the screen – the eyes, the memories and the longing. I can’t see any actors being able to portray this as well as the real thing.

  15. sophia

    This was a gift. Particularly as I mourn the death of my brother (one year ago today) and I need to remember to focus on the important things that remain. Thank you. Timely and oh so beautiful.

  16. Robert so true – all we do have is moments and that will be all we’ll have as we get older.
    But the mind and memory can be a treasure trove of consolation, if we let it.
    BTW who cares ‘what happened next’ !
    The point and the miracle is that THIS moment happened !

    • Scott

      Damn straight! As humans we all get too caught up in the future/past which also leads to depression/anxiety.
      Very ‘Eckhart Tolle’ish’ but enjoy the present NOW! (it truly is a gift)

  17. Alvin stepp

    To live in a world of regret , to have let love walk away once is bad enough, but twice , love loss+ regret= ” walking death”,,,,my tears and a painfully broken heart screams to you to go find Him , ;(

  18. katrinehaldkjeldsen

    This is enough. It’s so precious. They do not have to meet again. They will always have this moment

  19. This sequence brings pure joy to me ! the image of Tom McEvilley in the background between the two as they join arms and his recent passing brings tears may those whom he touched remain in brilliant light!

  20. Very interesting given that their performance art largely centered around their becoming one being. Once they breathed each other’s breath until they both collapsed unconscious.

  21. I was moved to tears…just incredible.

  22. real love, involving every sense finishing with a touch. beautifull

  23. […] Marina Abramović & Ulay meet after 22 years […]

  24. Brendan

    This seems to me like the arts version of proposing marriage on the Jumbo-Tron at a football game. She was there for one purpose, and he unilaterally decided to make it about something else in a very public place. So many other ways he could have reconnected with her without interfering in her work.

    • Cyndi Lou

      She did not seem to mind, she looked very happy to see him actually

    • I respectfully disagree with Brendan. The randomness of the visitors is an integral element of the artwork. There is always the possibility that a visitor is previously known to the artist. Ulay doesn’t interfere with the artwork and leaves after his alotted minute.

    • Considering that the moment happened on opening night, then ran for another 2 months (she sat for something like 800 hours, in total), I think this experience contributes something beautiful to the whole of it. She sat with hundreds of people, known to her and unknown, famous and obscure. That was part of the point. To share a moment, to share life.

    • Tim

      I didn’t feel like he changed it into anything that was somehow against the artist’s intention. She sat in a chair and invited anyone in the world to come sit down opposite her and share a minute of eye contact. Every person probably had a very different experience doing this and watching this. I’m sure it was profound for some, weird for some, awful, awesome, everything. A previously unknown person sits opposite her and she has that experience. An old love sits down and she experiences that. Then she has the experience of sitting with a stranger after having seen someone from her past. The audience gets to watch all of it. To me it seemed very much in the spirit of her art. This video may have been about their moment but I doubt the actual experience in the museum was quite so focused on their romance. I wish the video kept going. Plus, I didn’t feel like a proposal because he didn’t ask for anything. She was offering 1 minute of connection to whoever wanted it. He accepted her offer.

  25. […] big ol’ post about selling without selling today, but then I stumbled across this video from Zen Garage in the morning, and I thought “Screw it. This is […]

  26. don

    Yeah, what happened afterward? Story also doesn’t say when they parted ways the first time.

  27. Amrit

    i think it was all pre planned and rigged as a PR stunt. We are all watching this arent we?

    • Exactly. They’re performance artists. It’s what they do. They each walked from opposite ends of the Great Wall to meet in the middle and hug one last time. Very self-indulgent, isn’t it?

      • JS

        Self indulgent. And probably did not happen. Or at least an embellished story.

        • Wojtek

          Actually, it did happen, it’s pretty well documented, it was much more messy than it sounds, there is no way of just “walking the wall”, in many places there is no access to it. Also, their initial idea was to meet first, say good-bye and then walk each in their own direction, but they couldn’t get all the papers (?) on time, so had to go the other way.

    • I’m not sure what you mean. The performance piece ran for 2 months at MoMa (I was lucky enough to see it when I visited NYC one day), and thousands of people saw it, both before and after this single moment.

  28. The adding of music IS manipulative, but the emotional effectiveness is nearly undeniable; so very human. The video is it’s own art. WELL crafted.
    Noticed Marina was the first to extend her arms, and first to pull away.
    Wishing them, and you all, peace & love.

    • Margot Bradley

      Yes, Scott. I also noticed that she was the first to extend her hands (a welcoming act, and also one of vulnerability. Tragically, it is in reaching out that we make ourselves vulnerable to rejection. Read in this way, reaching out is an act of courage transcending fear of rejection. The moment her hands were taken away, I sensed an experience of grief, as though she was letting go of the love, clearly by him risking the vulnerability of rejection by seating himself before her. The intensity, complexity and interplay of emotions shared in their loving gaze ultimately left me with a sense of this transcendant gift of Love that makes the human experience such a rich one.

  29. That was a profound moment. It would be wonderful if it were possible to reconnect with people we have loved and farewelled in such a manner. The heart speaks so loudly.

  30. Kanti

    I had no music during this video and it was one of the most powerful emotional connections on the Earthly plane I’ve ever seen. I just can’t imagine what it might be like to meet the ultimate Love that we’ve pretty much all forgotten…<3

  31. Why do so many people want to know what happened next? Why can’t a perfect moment be enough even if it’s only a moment?

    • Krista

      It’s human nature to be curious. Since we were children we’ve had the ‘end of the story.’ Why wouldn’t we want to know?

    • Susan

      You’re so right, Josh. “Now is all we have” – and all we need.

    • We are conditioned to want the happy ending.

    • angel_eyes_68

      Live each day and moment for itself, learn to love the time you are in – quit wishing for tomorrow or regretting yesterday – today and now is the PRESENT – take that present and make the most of it! It was a beautiful representation of life, love and perfection for that moment, thank your for sharing – it made my Present that much more beautiful!

    • Ocean

      I must be missing something – or be the only no-romantic person watching… what was perfect about it? I can’t believe so many people count it as a rare experience… have you never met a past lover years later…??? The reality is… that intensity, that spontaneous grief and love all well up in a second..but can only last a moment… life has already moved on for them…

    • Siren

      I agree with you completely, josh. All we really have is this moment. They shared a moment . No need to question it.

  32. Recently a large number of sites with video do not work at all on my computer. Youtube works fine. But on these sites I get a black frame, with no indication that there is anything in it at all. Right click shows no information about any video playing tool or any error message. Can anyone tell me what is going on?

  33. leones

    yes, it is about the moments. rugged life the heart leads, to live in any less bold and heartbreaking way is a life soft worn.

  34. Yankel

    I remember watching the programme this was in a while ago. Now I know something of what was behind their touch. Thank you for posting it.

  35. Rissa

    I watched this with my speakers off, so I didn’t even know there was music playing. Effect was still profound.

  36. B

    interesting history between the two of them. . .wikipedia:

    To create Breathing In/Breathing Out the two artists devised a piece in which they connected their mouths and took in each other’s exhaled breaths until they had used up all of the available oxygen. Seventeen minutes after the beginning of the performance they both fell to the floor unconscious, their lungs having filled with carbon dioxide. This personal piece explored the idea of an individual’s ability to absorb the life of another person, exchanging and destroying it.

    In Imponderabilia (1977, reenacted in 2010) two performers, both completely nude, stand in a doorway. The public must squeeze between them in order to pass, and in doing so choose which one of them to face.

  37. Katapult5

    Really beautiful. And it’s also facinating to watch her stay present when the stranger after him sits in front of her. She’s carrying so much with her into that next turn.

  38. Uli

    Apparently they had met before the show, just so you know. She didn’t know he was coming to the performance, so her surprise and joy is still real and still beautiful, but they HAVE met before and they DID stay in touch all these years!
    As usual, the internet needs to make everything a million times more exceptional than it needs to be, it is still a beautiful moment so why all the pretense?!

    • LittleTitch

      I totally agree. I love it anyway though, you can tell they work well together as people, regardless of their past or present relationship when they can have a conversation in complete silence. Gesture is 50% of language, even now.

  39. Anyone with a past can identify with the beauty of this moment. I know who would be sitting across the table from me for example. The tears here were for his shrugs and eyebrow lifts. He was in as much distress as her.

    • Jim

      If you breathe, you have a past. Artists have a need to constantly reexamine that breath, then share that examination….what a life.

  40. karen bair

    strange and lovely. Would have hated to shared my minute with her afterwards. She deserved a break.

  41. Adam

    My favorite part is when the woman after Ulay sits down, Marina does not want to let Ulay out of the chair in her mind. She keeps closing her eyes to hold on to that memory.

  42. Anyone with a past can identify with the beauty of this moment. I know who would be sitting across the table from me for example. The tears here were for his shrugs and eyebrow lifts. He was in as much distress as her. l

  43. this hit a nerve. what a beautiful story.

  44. Ken

    “Marina and Ulay have been in contact sporadically over the years. This past summer, they saw each other for the first time in several years on the occasion of an interview. They met and talked the morning of the opening [of the MoMa Retrospective on Marina]” – Klaus Biesenbach, show curator.

  45. Virginia Cooper

    I melted with his eyes as her took her in. My tears were immediate, at this first glance. I saw her immediate recognition of him, and then his gaze saying, “yes, it’s me…” Then her eyes saying, “…you’re here!”, and his look responds, “l am!” What love!
    Did anything else happen with them after this meeting?

  46. Lisa

    a most beautiful moment in time…precious.

  47. Amazing. Simple, beautiful and amazing. A privilege to witness.

  48. Kris

    Very touching.

    Yet …

    More manipulative than the music is the blog post stating “never seeing each other again” and “Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened” – both complete fabrications.

    As Ken points us to the Art Info blog, they have been seeing each other over the years, even the morning of that particular show. The only thing she didn’t know is that he would sit in.

  49. The article should be corrected for the following error. During her MOMA piece, anyone could sit opposite for as long as they liked, not just a minute.

  50. Monica Lorca

    All I can say has already been said….”Do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity, it is as perennial as the grass.” – Desiderata

  51. Happy ending indeed!!

  52. Vickie

    I’m having the same trouble, and it’s making me nuts. I don’t know which of my programs needs to be updated. If anyone knows, please help!

  53. scheisseminnelli

    When I watch him, I hear a script in my head. “So…. wow. Long time no see.” And later, “Don’t cry”.

  54. Jean-Claude St-Hilaire

    I had the chance to watch Marina doing her performance for at least one hour. Her powerfull was amaizing. I just regret to miss the encounter with Ulay. A great moment! Before and after is a false thinking. The present was the most important.

  55. […] 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.” – Justin Fox […]

  56. oliver

    Fucked up. Two souls dedicated to making personal intimacy sanctioned by aesthetics.

  57. Almost more devastating than their seeing each other is the moment when the next visitor sits down and Marina has to keep closing her eyes to center herself. As if each time she’s hoping to see him sitting there once more. God, this one minute makes me feel more than every feature film I’ve watched in the last five years combined.

  58. Joyce L

    I muted it as soon as I heard the music. I didn’t want any distractions. Her display of feelings…real or otherwise…were very moving. I believed that they came from her heart.

  59. Miranda Rhys-Jones

    I don’t think it matters whether they met before the show or not. To be in that state of silent connection and have an old flame appear, as if from nowhere, can only be a powerful thing. When love reconnects, it happens in the moment. I don’t think I could have held myself with such decorum.

  60. I happened to catch this during her run at MOMA. However, I did not catch this beautiful moment! This is Art!!!

  61. Jaimie

    Keep watching this, but my eyes tear so much…what does he say?

  62. what a load of self obsessed and self indulgent crap – no wonder my daughter left Central St Martins after a year of drivelof so called conceptual art

  63. Birgitte Knudsen

    Thank-you so much.

  64. tibicinis

    OOOoooh my god! This is soooo romantic! I’m sorry for the sarcasm. But what a piece of hypocrisie…

  65. […] then I went ahead and saw this and promptly broke down again in tears. Damn. Apparently motherhood will screw up your hormones for […]

  66. Bobbi Owens

    Silence is a powerful way to be with the essence of a person. I had the same response when I sat in silence with my African friend in Personal Mastery at i weeped in silence. As an African American that has not travelled to Africa, but whose ancestors were brought to this country as slaves, I realized I could have been her. Most deeply intense feelings are experienced and words are inadequate to describe. It was a memorable experience. One that I will not forget. I won’t cheapen the experience with an explanation. But I think it was a healing moment.

  67. eva

    great drama. learnt this in acting school. what load of crap. ulay looks stoned.

  68. Dick Bakker

    I felt immediate tears. So much intimacy and remembrance. Really energy from the heart. No mental audible words. This meeting opened myself wide open!
    Thx for the inspiration.

  69. Hi Mate, Dan Todd here. I followed a link through to your article and an amazing youtube clip. What an amazing story, and such a moving video. Thanks for posting it .(I still have a copy of scrambled legs somewhere)

  70. “without words, but with the soul..”

  71. Scott

    HBO has a documentary about her and this show. They did not have further contact after that moment, nor did she make physical contact with anyone else for the entire three months of the exhibit. It was a great documentary.

  72. so deep..through their eyes and’s like a long chat amon the two..very intense wow

  73. juliet

    oh my God. Someone please let us know what happened next….
    the suspense is killing me

  74. Thomas Prochnow

    Love is the most enduring color we use. To paint our canvas of life.

  75. Evelyn

    And then what? I wept

  76. K Eldred

    The comments aptly reflect the commentator’s way of being in the world – perhaps a continuing phase of this performance art?

  77. Paul

    This is LOVE. Thanks.
    The eye is the lamp of the body (Bible).
    Try it yourself with somebody you do not know.(you do not knwo her/his name, you both haven’t spoken a/any word to eacother; so full stangers!)
    Sitting in front of eachother looking deeply in eachother eyes, try to move as less as possible both eyse, both people . Sitting opposite so close , nearly touched knees. And look with all your attention deeply into eachother eyes.

    My experience: For me it was amazing., 100% acceptance of a stranger opposite me, for ever. Once to be one with a stranger. During this sessions the eyes of the stranger and mine watered. I call this LOVE. Love from me to you.

  78. I feel this little story deep inside of me. Thank you so much for sharing it. I absolutely love it. I makes me feel happy and sad all at once.

  79. Harmonia

    Beautiful and poignant. But no wonder their
    relationship “ran its course.” He looks old enough
    to be her father.

    I think this clip shows a lot about the public.
    Most people have such masks on. Not very pleasant ones either.
    Maybe it’s just San Francisco self-consciousness.

  80. Emma

    Haters have nothing better to do but hate, apparently.

    You know what’s more self-indulgent that art? Bashing art through anonymous commenting on the Internet to show how superior you think you are.

  81. Good Job Emma, I agree, :).

  82. so very moving , and so sad .. that in our culture to have this type of connecting with people is in a gallery as art , not as a natural part of life .

  83. Nicole Dalton

    “Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

  84. People have asked why she didn’t say anything? How on earth could she have summed up all of her emotion, with one word? Or even 10? The looks and the touch they exchanged said it all, in oceans of words, but with no sound.Truly beautiful.

  85. Karren Murdoch

    I do not want to know what happened after.
    How beautiful.
    Those whom know that feeling, will get those fluttering of butterflies in their tummies.
    Words do not always have to be spoken.

  86. Eyes filled with the tears of love are some of life’s most beautiful treasures :)

  87. Michael Markham

    Love break through and warms the room.

  88. Amanda

    The minute spent with Ulay was enormously moving. Also moving to me, though, was watching her struggle to get, and stay, present with the next participant. Can you imagine the memories and thoughts that must’ve been racing through her mind? It took her a moment to collect herself and step back into the present.

    At least that’s how I see it. Not that I know anything about anything. :)

  89. […] Watch video here: […]

  90. Rt

    It’s so uncomfortable how quickly she has to deal with all that emotion while moving on so quickly to the next person sans pause. I would love to be a fly on her inner thoughts.

  91. Mary

    A moment is a moment. What comes before and after give the moment context. When you get old, you have the moment to remember, and you also remember the context with joy or regret. Moments may not evoke the same feelings if you have had numerous relationships in a long life.Loss is hard.

  92. Don

    To let love go once…is amazing…’

    To think that THEY let it go again… is painful…

  93. This is wonderful! Thanks for sharing this intimate moment (in a crowd of many).

  94. tyrol f

    Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love. -Khali Gibran

  95. Red

    My goodness! Absolutely beautiful! I cried right along with her. Their faces, reactions, emotions: so poignant, so raw, so relatable. Thank you for this!

  96. […] is those eyes at a masque ball. I can use words as a distraction. But I want so bad to lift a veil, to get to truth with my eyes. Never again have to tell anyone any lies. I can use words as my camera. Digitally paint a picture, […]

  97. Pamela

    Thank you. Tears were flowing down my cheeks. Seeing them brought back emotions of past connections.

  98. Tim


  99. […] cái video này cảm động. có gì mọi người xem. […]

  100. […] the description you should read before watching, taken from ZenGarage: Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van […]

  101. Does it matter what happened next? That was so beautiful. The connection they had showed their true love without words spoken. We could do more in the world in saying less.

  102. […] Original post here: […]

  103. Gabrielle Marangi

    Been battling this fine line and it feels good to be a warrior. What are words anyways?

  104. jan

    He completed her art for her. Wonderful.

  105. Jo

    It’s not about whether they ‘got back together’ or rekindled their romance.
    It’s about humanity, love and loss.
    A moment that transcends any ‘lets go for coffee and catch up”. It’s all said, without a word.
    The whole project is about human interaction, he enhanced her work by being there.
    So real, so much truth. A lesson in life.

  106. […] Justin Fox: 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. […]

  107. Lynda

    From the heart space ♥

  108. diane

    Beautiful – but what happened next?

  109. Gabriel Galle

    Separations are very painful; coping is unique. Both bring a lot of tears. Hearing about others is comforting

  110. Marleen

    I agree with you katrine. I was moves by seeing this encounter.
    Marleen Kragt

  111. Gabriel Galle

    Separations are painful; coping is unique. Both bring a lot of tears. Learning about others experiences is comforting

  112. […] I can’t say that I quite understand Marina Abramovic but I do know that this elicits respect. Here is the prelude to the story from Zen Garage: […]

  113. […] Zen Garage: “Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of […]

  114. stuart salmon

    Evoked many memories for me. Even though they may have met just before, real love cannot lie and to be in your loved ones presence, whether alone or in a crowd, eyes locked, emotions and memories in tune, is still a profound experience. Very moving…and so true about the importance of the intimacy of friendship and the love that grows, flows and never really dies. It is the little details that only you know from sharing moments in time with each other …exclusively, explicitly and instinctively that make a difference…sigh…

  115. A lifetime can go by, new paths, even children…but love endures. A meeting after 3 decades. No actor I know could replicate the emotion here.

  116. […] “Because we never stop silently loving those who we once loved out loud” […]

  117. Yes, it was beautiful and I loved watching it and felt very moved. But what is wrong with our society that we make this a big deal? This loving embrace is relegated to art, not to everyday occurances? We are indeed in need of repair. I would applaud this much more if people were to sit on a street on a chair and randomly embrace each other in a loving gaze. Doing it in a safe environment is just not that special.

  118. Felix73

    I think a lot of people are missing what actually occurred. Yes, the two of their lives were intertwined. They are both performance artists – the art lives in that moment. They may have stayed in contact but Ulay coming to the opening with cameras in tow unannounced and sitting across from her created a spectacular moment. In essence he validated her life’s work and their once emotional connection was brought out – in that moment. The emotion was real, nothing contrived about it and that was his gift to her and everyone who got to witness it. Was it a performance? Yes, but it was real. Which was/is the point. They both succeeded as artists because it elicited an emotional response from the viewer. Made me cry. It was a beautiful moment.

  119. Sarino tesandori

    Soul mates. Alas they have chosen separate lives. I guess they couldn’t manage their egos as well as they hoped to. Here’s to love. The love that is beyond the physical. Beyond pride. Love that elevates us beyond the physical. Beyond pride. Love that can only shed a few tears and Carey’s on loving.

  120. […] Abramovic and Ulay’s meeting at Abramovic’s MoMa retrospective. I saw this post on Zen Garage and could not not share […]

  121. Maria

    Beautiful. Brought tears to my eyes watching them say so much to each other without words. Love eternal

  122. Solveig

    Beautiful! A piece of love, of life. I watch it over and over again. Thank You!

  123. How beautiful! Very touching……..Wonderful!!

  124. […] For the rest of this wonderful story, click here […]

  125. kristin

    This is simply beautiful. There is no need for getting panties in a bunch about the details of what happened prior to or after this if we can simply extract the love, passion, and beauty of human connection from this one moment in time. To me, this is about the profoundness of connection and of being in the moment. If we need to mute it or to dig up greater details to fall deeper into love or disagreeance with this piece, we are too caught up on details and missing the depth of the moment, I think. Of course we would love to have it our own way and make the story as juicy as possible, but truly, shedding these true tears of joy and sharing a deep bond is profound enough. :)

  126. Tina olivero

    love without illusions


    this gorgeous lady is 66. she doesn’t look a day over 40.

  128. […] Deborah comes through again with an incredibly touching video. […]

  129. Florian

    still better lovestory than twilight

  130. Elaine Williams

    I watched it the first time not knowing the underlying story, so I watched it again after reading about it and then I understood the significance of the moment when they met again and the emotions they felt and I felt along with them. This was so raw and intense, and it has left me both elated and sad.

  131. Angela

    I really want to see him again….. We haven’t met and contacted each other for 18 years. Miss you.

  132. […] then my friend kate posted this on her fb and i cried soo hard tears shot out of my eyes instead of just rolling down my […]

  133. Jay

    You’re all artists here so I suppose you can take it: this is the most pretentious thing I’ve seen in quite some time. It seems like a parody piece about self importance.

  134. synchronicity

    a day after you posted this, i went to go see my estranged ex during one of her lectures. we had not seen each other in 5 years…the experience was much like the one marina and ulay had here…very powerful. we have reconnected and my life will never be the same…

  135. What did he say to her?!

  136. […]   […]

  137. Beautiful and so pure.

  138. Reminds me of my own Lost Lost, my loveinterrupted

  139. Julietta boscolo

    It is a beautiful clip but unfortunately the true story is not as sweet as the one written above. The walk across the Great Wall of China was a performance, not a walk taken when ‘they felt the relationship was ending’. The relationship ended when Marina found out that Ulay had had an affair with the Chinese interpreter who was helping them organise their trip and had gotten her pregnant.

    But it is a wonderful clip nonetheless and Marina is an astounding artist.

  140. […] this is not romance. […]

  141. Aleines

    Thank you for my heart, for all the hearts in the world . Beautiful …

  142. […] Here’s the story (found, courtesy of Debbie, here): […]

  143. David

    well that’s a big lie. watch the documentary and you will clearly see that Ulay comes to pay a visit before the exibition – they talk, eat dinner etc. In the video its him giving her respect at the opening day. all other facts are true. but they do not see each other for the first time in this moment.

    • YES

      YES this person is correct. They did NOT see eachother for the first time at this moment…. watch the movie….

  144. […] Marina Abramovic and Ulay on Zengarage – This is one of my favourite things I have ever seen. Have a watch. You’ll see why. […]

  145. I feel like I might have jumped over the table.

    I love this.


  146. Amos Kearns

    Is hard not to be synical, but that is probably half the reason it so difficult for us to be true to our emotions. Was moving, but the intense emotion that seemed to well up, should have been diverted into maintaining the relationship in the first place. Yes, great to meet up with a former love, but did it really hit her that deeply? If it did, she should have looked him up ages ago and then moved on. This is a performance piece, so please read my lines a couple of times, before you dive in on me, to give me a hard time about emotions, feelings and true loves…

  147. doc wise

    there is art, and there is bad art. i think it falls in the latter category, but still art.

  148. Sue

    Interesting how something can be interpreted completely differently when given the details of their history. I now see this piece as her having been deeply hurt by him because she truly loved him. Her reaching out to him was letting him know that she had forgiven him. His gestures of being uncomfortable were his way of saying that he was so sorry. Unfortunately, betrayal causes a piece of our soul to be damaged where it leaves a permanent scar. Happy for womankind that she loved herself enough to move on, unlike so many others who don’t and remain in abusive relationships.

  149. Jerzy,

    You posting this quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s book, The Dance (2001) has opened a door that is, amazing.

  150. Rossneptune


  151. This was a beautiful moment but your text is misleading. Marina had invited Ulay to her retrospective and they’d spent the weekend together before he turned up to the show. She did not expect him to sit in the chair as the audience did. It’s a little annoying when folks misrepresent – the docu is pretty clear on this subject.

  152. Patric

    Ok guys, did I miss the point? Must be a women thing!

  153. billy cross

    typical self absorbed bullshit by a woman who is incapable of real human contact and instead, choses to make drama out of not connecting. Typical Facebook pretending.

  154. Very powerful…it’s hard to be in the present moment with someone you don’t know. Beautiful…

  155. A singular focused human action ..(the focused glare).. leaves multiple interpretations ..yes?… We see what we need or feel … granted… the basis of art …….and I think, this proponent of “question” bullshit? …. The main question is, who am I to understand your sensibility of Art ?

  156. larryx

    nice, but how could she go on?

  157. jose

    There are not words in human language to describe with justice what we all have witnesed. Love is just beyond anything that can be said.

  158. Thanks so much Justin

  159. Ammiel Simon

    The name of the show was “The Artist is Present” Clearly, until Ulay arrived, the artist was anything but! What a collasal waste of time for everybody else who spent a minute of their time staring into her empty mind. And what a selfiksh act on her part to ask of all that boredome – so that we might experience one minute of sentimentality in an otherwise meaningless excersize.

  160. […] Marina Abramovic and Ulay | Zen Garage D'awwwww. Met citaat reageren […]

  161. Sae Lee

    I too joined with tears in subway train -_-;

  162. Kerri E

    Sweetly beautiful.

  163. […] Source: […]

  164. […] Check the feature everyone’s talking about (294 comments so far on our web site) here: […]

  165. […] Check the feature everyone’s talking about (294 comments so far on our web site) here: […]

  166. […] (Background information from HERE.) […]

  167. joseph5272

    There are no words to describe what we all have witnessed. Love is above any human language. Trying to put in writing what did happen there would be an injustice.

  168. joseph5272

    There are no words to describe what we all have witnessed. Love is above any human language. Trying to put in writing what did happen there would be an injustice.

  169. Brought tears to my eyes! So touching!….

  170. joseph5272

    There are not words to describe what we all have witnessed. Love is above any human language. Trying to put in writing what happen there would be an injustice.

  171. Did someone understand the 2 lines that were spoken?

    • Ramona

      I turned up the volume because I saw him saying something. I’ve been reading all the comments to see if anybody else noticed. I thought I heard him say ‘Uhm…I don’t want to live without you’ as their hands were joined. Can somebody confirm that for all of us?

  172. josee

    who cares about the date? It was an amazing thing to watch11

  173. Ivan

    Yes the dates are different in America from the rest of the world. With that sorted… Lets just concentrate on how beautiful this is. Art at it’s highest!

  174. […] Click here if you want to know more about the story here. […]

  175. […] Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van th… […]

  176. Nille L

    What happened afterwards? Did they meet again?

  177. Jim

    I was struck by the artist’s body position when she reached her hands across the table, and by her efforts to compose herself.

  178. Sunil

    Beautiful moment and this makes me feel that life is worth living and hope every one of us find our partner.
    Hope this can happen to me since I miss my first love.

  179. Alderneyfred

    And as to the date; as my wife was told as a student when first leaving the US “You will find that things you thought of as universal are purely local.”
    An amazing piece of video.

  180. […] for the last time at the center of the great wall of China, and never saw each other again, until this video was […]

  181. Moving meeting, layers, and loved the audience faces, each with a story of their own.

  182. Jed

    This is nice, but I wish people didn’t feel the need to punctuate how we’re supposed to feel with musical cues. Cheapens this, at least for me. Unfortunate.

  183. […] Tage wurde auf Facebook immer wieder dieses Video von der Performance-Künstler Marina Abramović geteilt. Ich habe natürlich total geheult. Mich […]

  184. […] friend David Shkolny shared this touching story from ZenGarage on Facebook today and I thought it was too good not to […]

  185. Beautiful soul connection.

  186. Reba Davis

    I could feel the intensity of their feelings and I felt almost as though I were intruding.

  187. Mike

    Methinks, she’s more of a con artist than the so-called “performance artist”. I’d like to know how to get paid $100000 for sitting and staring at strangers like she did. Even easier than “smile and turn letters” Vanna White of Wheel of Fortune. Con artist at its best showing!

  188. CinemaBabe

    I thought this was so delicate and beautiful……until they started with the music. Why didn’t they just let us sit in the pregnant silence like the two old lovers?

  189. […] THIS is everything! I still cannot decide if I love this more from the perspective of an artist or the perspective of love obsessed romantic! Click the link, grab a tissue, and watch the video. […]

  190. Rolande

    Amazing connection…

  191. Jeremy

    Great clip, but unfortunately the introduction is wrong on a couple points. The two had indeed interacted since the Great Wall; you just have to watch the documentary from which this clip was taken to know that. And the guests did not sit for a minute if silence each. They stayed for as long as they cared to, some for several hours. In the last days/weeks the time began to be limited, but from memory (again, this is in the film) it was something like 15 minutes, or perhaps 5.

  192. […] Watch: […]

  193. […] + this lovely article from The Fresh Exchange on writing from the heart as a blogger + words to live by, from Cupcakes and Cashmere. Celebrate the little things. + absolutely love these illustrations! Daily Dishonesty, featured on Honestly WTF. + so many questions from The Wily Brunette. + asian style dumpling soup from A Beautiful Mess. + i can’t not mention that re-union between Marina Abramovic and Ulay. […]

  194. Abby Borja

    so moving… i cried! huhu… it is true sometimes love cant be enough reason for people to stay together..

  195. […] this beautiful little moment. I must have watched this three times […]

  196. […] I came across this post by Zen Garage, I simply couldn’t stop sharing and watching. The story’s simple. After seeing the end […]

  197. […] Because We Never Stop Loving Silently Those We Once Loved Out Loud […]

  198. joanna

    amazing! real real art… real real life… thank you for making art soi real and alive!