22 years later

Performance art is an ephemeral action art, captured on videos or photographs. The artists at a given point of time, went beyond painting and sculpture directing their gaze towards the body. The scenes they represent can be aimed at provoking reactions, feelings, reflections…
I get thrilled at Marina Abramović, a Serbian Performance artist with over 30 years of experience in this area. She had an intense love and professional relationship with Ulay back in the 70’s. The couple spent around 5 years living in a van and carrying out all sorts of performances.
Amongst many others they devised the piece ‘Death self’, in which the two performers joined their mouths and took in each other’s exhaled breaths until they had used up all of the available oxygen. Exactly 17 minutes after the beginning of the performance they both fell to the floor unconscious, since their lungs had been filled with carbon dioxide. This piece explored the idea of an individual’s ability to absorb the life of another person, exchanging and destroying it. 
 
 
 In 1988, when the course of their relationship had run out, they decided to walk along the Great Chinese Wall, each one starting from the opposite side, to meet in the middle, embrace each other and never ever see each other again. Here is where there intense relationship, full of contradictions, energy and attraction, came to an end. From here on, each one of them would seek his own destiny, which, as life itself, is always so uncertain, and sometimes unpredictable and unexpected. 
 
 
 
In spring 2010, 22 years later, the MoMa set up a performance by Marina Abramovic which consisted in the artist sitting on a wooden chair at a small table in the middle of the museum’s great hall. Opposite, on the other side of the table, an empty chair. The visitors, in strict turns, could sit down facing her as long as they wanted, silently contemplate her and feel part of the act. Ulay turned up unannounced, and this is what happened:
 
 

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