Ulay is Suing Marina Abramovic: Love is Dead
That’s it. We’re packing our bags and returning to the depths of Hell, because love is dead and nothing good exists anymore. Today, our hearts broke and we shed a single collective tear over news that the most famous couple in modern art history are in the throws of a vicious legal battle over royalties and credit for their extensive collection of art.
Celebrity performance artist Marina Abramović is taking a break from dancing in Jay Z videos and appearing in adidas ad campaigns to deal with the fallout from a damning lawsuit that her former lover and artistic partner Frank Uwe Laysiepen (or Ulay) has levied against her. We’ve come a long way from the hysterical crying we all engaged in over their infamous reunion scene during The Artist is Present (2010) at the MoMA.
From 1976 until 1988, Abramović and Ulay created a number of influential and historic pieces that stand as a testament to their love. Some of the more famous work includes Incision (1978), in which a naked Ulay runs toward a clothed Abramović, only to be pulled back by an elastic rope; AAA-AAA (1978), in which the pair screams at one another; Relation in Time (1977), in which they performed bound together by their braided hair while facing away from one another – for 17 hours; and of course The Lovers (1988), in which they each walked 2,500km from either end of the Great Wall of China, before embracing and parting for the last time. It’s this kind of romance that we yearned for in an age of Netflix and chill and Snapchat dick pics meant to symbolize love.
Ulay’s lawsuit, which will be heard in Amsterdam later this month, claims that Abramović violated a contract they signed in 1999 that was supposed to ensure they would share credit for works they had created together. He alleges that Abramović kept the royalties for their works, and explained to The Guardian that, “The whole oeuvre has made history. It’s now in school books. But she has deliberately misinterpreted things, or left my name out.”
If the allegations are true, i.e. she’s really asking galleries to list her as the sole author of their joint works while having only paid him four times in the last 16 years, this is about to get really ugly, really fast. While we wait to see how both sides argue the case in court, we’ll be viciously stabbing heart shaped pillows and announcing the end of love as we know it.
Images via The Artist is Present, Dogwoof Films, and the Lisson Gallery.