“It takes a long time, perhaps even a lifetime, to understand Ulay,” said Marina Abramović. The camera follows conceptual artist Ulay for one year. A pioneer of body art, performance art, and Polaroid art—where he worked as a consultant. Some said he was only half a man, the other half a woman. His performance work with then-partner Abramović achieved iconic status. Both on a communal and personal level, Ulay’s work takes on a search for understanding identity and the body through Polaroid photographs, aphorisms, and intimate performances. His work has always been concerned with the performative and the notion of provocation, later turning into forms of activism. In “Dismantling the Scaffold,” curator Christina Li shows “Talking about Similarity” (1976), documentation of the first joint performance by Ulay and Abramović, wherein the viewer hears the fictitious sound of saliva being sucked out of Ulay’s open mouth. When the sounds sound, Ulay sews his mouth shut and Abramović takes his place, answering questions on his behalf. A switching and sharing of identity, this work demonstrates the ability for life to become art.
“Project Cancer: Ulay’s Journal from November to November” was originally conceived of by documentary filmmaker Damjan Kozole as something entirely different. Following Ulay’s move to Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2009, he was diagnosed with cancer. The opening scenes were shot in November 2011 at the Ljubljana Institute of Oncology, where Ulay was undergoing chemotherapy. The camera follows him for one year on his farewell journey around the world, treating his illness as the most vast and critical art project of his life.
This public programme is part of "Dismantling the Scaffold,” a group exhibition curated by Christina Li and presented by Spring Workshop that examines the scaffold both as a disciplinary apparatus and as a support system through the work of artists who worked extensively with artist collectives.
This film is rated Category III. No persons younger than 18 years of age are permitted to watch the screening.