Journey of discovery

Marina Abramović & Ulay – The Lovers, The Great Wall Walk

Marina Abramović & Ulay, The Lovers, The Great Wall Walk, 1988, two-channel video, color, sound, 16:45 min, Stichting LIMA, Courtesy of the Marina Abramović Archives and Murray Grigor, based on the 1988 performance, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

On the 30th of March 1988 Marina Abramović & Ulay set off on a 90-day, emotionally charged hike along the Great Wall of China. Ulay starts from the southwest of the Gobi Desert, while Abramović departs from its opposite side, from the sea. After travelling 2000 kilometers of the distance each, they meet on a mountain pass at a Buddhist temple in Shenmu, to end their relationship at this point, both privately and professionally. Only a few years earlier, the couple had intended to undertake the same journey, in order to get married in this place instead. 

In their last performance, Abramović & Ulay do not only push themselves to their own physical, mental and emotional limits again, but they also repeat the principle of approaching each other one more time. In their first joint performance, Relation in Space from 1976, the two repeatedly run naked towards each other and let their bodies bounce off one another.