Artist: Ulay, GER
“Invisible Opponent”, 2016
Musee d’Art et Histoire, Genève
copyright the artist.
Photograpger: Mike Sommer
A pioneer of Polaroid photography and one of the pivotal figures of European performance art of the 1970s and 1980s, Uwe Laysiepen, better known in the art world as Ulay, is a singular presence among the artists of his generation. His radically innovative past work in partnership with Marina Abramovic has lately reached the highest degrees of critical acclaim worldwide. At the age of 70 however, Ulay finally reveals his best kept secrets: a startling oeuvre, coherently rooted in a personal life philosophy guided by strong ethical principles. This inner moral coherence in his approach to art making is only one of the coordinates that distinguishes him from most of his contemporaries. His works assert his commitment to critical thinking, his rejection of any form of authority and the courage to distance himself from market- based criteria of artistic legitimization.
After gaining international notoriety during the 1970s and 1980s, Ulay has pursued his artistic endeavours largely away from the limelight of the media. This exhibition searches for the directional threads that merge the seemingly disparate aspects of his work into an ensemble of passionate pursuits, stemming from a rigorous, inner necessity. What transpires is a life lived without compromises, luminous in its intensity, often intersecting major art and social movements without deviating from his own trajectory.
Generously supported by MB Art Agency, Amsterdam and Gnyp Gallery, Berlin