Monday, March 11, 2013

Marina and Ulay

Please bear with me. It's one of those mornings where I sat down to write with certain intentions in mind, but got sideswiped by something that moved me in a completely different direction. Consider this: In the exploration of creative flow, perhaps one of the easiest and most natural ways to produce is to act with immediacy when inspired, harnessing that which is stoking the creative fire to transform experience into manifested expression. I appreciate the method as a means to an end, and as an exercise in both being present and connected to the workings of the world. However, acts of true creative genius, the ones that thrust our hearts beyond complacent comfort zones towards the raw, emotional spring that wells up, breaks through and truly moves us to feel a deeper human connection….these are different.  True genius lays us bare, and forces eyes wide open to witness the unfolding of our own hearts, and in that space, the reflection demands of the one standing in the mirror, "what is real?".

In this case, the moment the answer is revealed became a entire lifetime lived right before my eyes, as if the artist's heart had been my own.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay were both lovers and performance artists that started out in the early seventies. They continued on their path together until 1988, where they designed a final piece to mark the end of both their professional and romantic relationship. In that performance, each walked toward each other from opposite sides of the Great Wall of China, where they met in the middle for one last embrace, before permanently going their separate ways. Certainly one of the most remarkable and artistic break-ups I've ever heard of, but their story has one more recently added chapter that moved me beyond words.

In 2010, 22 years after their final moment together, Marina performed "The Artist is Present", where she invited strangers in to hold her gaze for one minute. Ulay traveled to her opening night show without her knowing, and this is what happened:

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