Visual Artist

1943 –


Who is Ulay?

Ulay, real name Frank Uwe Laysiepen is an important performance artist of the late 60s and the 70s. Ulay is based in Ljubljana, although his work takes him over the globe.

In all his works the central content is the relationship of body, space and society. During his life he travelled to different countries to collaborate with local artists, among others the Netherlands, Central Australia, China, Germany, and the United States.

From 1976 to 1989 he worked together with Marina Abramović. The performances of this period are the best known of Ulay's work.

In 1988, Ulay and Abramović decided to make a spiritual journey which would end their relationship. Each of them walked the Great Wall of China, starting from the two opposite ends and meeting in the middle. Ulay started from the Gobi Desert and Abramović from the Yellow Sea. After each of them walked 2500 km, they met in the middle and said "good-bye".

At Abramović's 2010 MoMa retrospective, she performed ‘The Artist Is Present’, sharing a period of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay made a surprise appearance on opening night. It seems that Abramović experienced a strong emotional reaction upon seeing Ulay's arrival, reaching to him across the table between them.

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Nov 30, 1943
Also known as
  • Frank Uwe Laysiepen
  • F. Uwe Laysiepen
  • Germany
Lived in
  • Solingen

on July 23, 2013


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