Journey of discovery

Is travelling also a process of approaching each other?


A mental short trip on the performance Two Lovers, The Great Wall Walk by Marina Abramović & Ulay


journey, the 
noun, feminine
movement over a longer distance [for the purpose of reaching a certain goal]
to approach each other
To agree on a compromise, to be willing to talk, to make contact with someone, to make contacts, to be willing to compromise, to signal a willingness to reconcile, to enter into communication
In its original, representational sense, the expression initially means running toward another person. In a figurative transfer, it denotes the positive establishment of contact, which in the case of a dispute is also linked to the aspect of willingness to compromise, since only through conversation and listening is it possible to reach an agreement. We find the same allegory in “accommodating”.


Both travelling and approaching each other pursue a certain goal. Whilst being attracted by foreign countries and cultures when travelling, approaching one another usually aims at conciliatory conversation. In both cases, the focus is on establishing positive contact as the declared goal of the journey. In both cases, an engagement with the other person is a prerequisite. The unlimited travelling in our thoughts can also be interpreted as a moving towards each other. Not towards external events or other people, but towards ourselves.

The journey that Marina Abramović and Ulay have been taken ends with a separation. And this also implies a journey: The separation from the old, the familiar and the habitual ways of thinking, always with the longing for a new experience. Thus, in their performance, Abramović and Ulay approach each other one last time, only to separate their private and professional relationship at the end of their journey.

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020, photo: Carl Brunn

By the way, as another meaning of the word journey, the dictionary gives a dreamlike state of being loosened, a thrill. And this can be triggered by approaching each other as well.



  • * 1946 in Belgrade, Serbia
  • Studied 1965–1970 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade
  • From 1973 artistic performances
  • From 1976 collaboration and joint performances with Ulay, with whom she lived nomadically at times, among others with Aborigines and with Tibetans.
  • The performance Balkan Baroque (1997) was awarded the Golden Lion of the 47th Biennale di Venezia.
  • For her artistic life’s work and role model, Marina Abramović is honored with the GLOBART Award 2018.
  • Abramović lives in New York since 2005
  • 1943 in Solingen, Germany – 2020 in Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • born as Frank Uwe Laysiepen
  • He went to Amsterdam in 1968, got involved with the ’68 Provo movement, photographed its actions, and enrolled in photography at the Cologne Art Academy a year later
  • During one of Marina Abramovic’s self-harming performances, Ulay and she met and their strong attraction became the basis for 12 years of collaboration and partnership.
  • In the early 80’s they began an intensive period of travel to the Australian desert, where they drew new energies, especially for their spiritual path, from the solitary way of life and living with the Aborigines.
  • Further trips to the Sahara, Thar Desert and Gobi Desert followed until 1983.
  • Ulay participated in Documenta 7 in 1982 and Documenta 8 in 1987.
  • He lived and worked in Australia and China, among other places. Most recently he lived in Amsterdam and Ljubljana.