Creative Arts

Marina Abramovic and Ulay: Because We Never Stop Loving Silently Those We Once Loved Out Loud


The video below, of artist Marina Abromovic meeting a former lover, Ulay, brought tears to my eyes (and down my cheeks, dripping onto my laptop). It was filmed during her 2010 installation art piece (read more here if you’re unfamiliar with it) which was one of the most intense and gorgeous pieces of art I have ever seen. I went to see it when I was first dating my current boyfriend, and we had a several hours long discussion while we watched Marina create her art. I’ll never forget it. I didn’t see this moment, but I think almost all of us can relate to it in that heartbreaking joy-sadness-longing kind of way.

Long story short, “Marina Abromovic 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.”

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.