Ulay

Biography / CV

Ulay is the pseudonym of Frank Uwe Laysiepen. He was born in 1943 in Solingen, Germany. Ulay was formally trained as a photographer, and between 1968 and 1971 he worked extensively as a consultant for the company Polaroid. In the early stages of his artistic activity( 1968-1976) he undertook a thematic search for understandings of the notions of identity and the body on both the personal and communal level, mainly through series of Polaroid photographs, aphorisms and intimate performances. At that time, Ulay’s photographic approach was becoming increasingly performative and resulted in performative photography (such as the series Exchange of Identity,1974, and Fototot,1976).

In the later stage of his early work, performative tendencies within the medium of photography were transformed completely into the medium of performance and actions (There Is a Criminal Touch to Art, 1976). From 1976 to 1988, he collaborated with Marina Abramovic on numerous performances: their work focused on questioning perceived masculine and feminine traits and pushing the physical limits of the body (Relation Works). After the break with Abramovic, Ulay focused on photography, addressing the position of the marginalized individual in contemporary society, and re-examining the problem of nationalism and its symbols( berlin Afterimages, 1994-1995). Nevertheless , although he was working primarily in photograph, he remained interested in the question of the “performative”, which resulted in his constant” provocation” of audiences through the realization of numerous performances, workshops and lecture-performances. In recent years, Ulay has been mostly engaged in projects and artistic initiatives that raise awareness, enhance understanding and appreciation of, and respect for, water ( Earth Water Catalogue, 2012). ULay’s work, as well as his collaborations with Marina Abramovic, is featured in many collections of major art institutions around the world, such as Centre Pompidou, MOMA New York, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, etc.

After four decades of living and working in Amsterdam, several long-term artistic projects in India, Australia and China, and a professorship of Performance and New media Art at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Gestaltung In Karlsruhe, Germany, Ulay currently lives and works alternatively in Amsterdam, The Netherlands and Ljubljana Slovenia.

Exhibitions

2017
Ulay - The Animist, DEPART Foundation, Los Angeles
Ulay: So you see me?, Cooper Gallery, Dundee
Frank Uwe Laysiepen - Ulay: I Other, Mestna galerija, Ljubljana

2016
Ulay – Body of Pain, Body of Love, Body of Wisdom, GNYP Gallery, Berlin
Ulay Life-Sized, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt
Evergreen, Cabaret Voltaire, Manifesta 11, Zurich
Invisible Opponent, Musee d’art et histoire, Geneva
Watermark / Cutting Through the Clouds of Myth, Kustera Projects in Red Hook, Brooklyn

2015
Ulay, What Is This Thing Called Polaroid? Nederlandse Fotomuseum, Rotterdam A Skeleton in the Closet, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Code of Conduct, 5th Thessaloniki Performance Biennale
Early Works of Ulay, Acik Ekran Yeni Medya Sanatlari Galerisi, Istanbul Retouching Bruises, Art Basel Feature Section/Mot International

2014
Project Cancer, Motovun Film Festival, Zagreb
“Da is eine kriminelle Berührung in der Kunst”, Venice International Performance Art Week, Venice

2013
Ulay, Mot International Gallery London
Ich bin Ich: Ulay on Ulay, Salon Dahlmann, Berlin

2012
Whose Water Is It? Maribor

2011
The Great Wall Walk, C-Space, Beijing

2010
Ulay in Patagonia, Outline Foundation, Amsterdam
Ulay – Preview of Historical Works, MB Art Agency, Amsterdam

Works

Black and white Candles from the series Whispers, 1993, 240 x 112 cm (80 x 40 in)

Black and white Candles from the series Whispers, 1993, 240 x 112 cm (80 x 40 in)

Water and bag from the series Whispers, 1993, 240 x 112 cm (80 x 40 in)

Water and bag from the series Whispers, 1993, 240 x 112 cm (80 x 40 in)

Worry Container, 1992, 170 x 111 cm (67 x 44 in)

Worry Container, 1992, 170 x 111 cm (67 x 44 in)

Tryptych Water for the Dead, 1992 Three unique Polaroids, 24 x 20 cm (70 x 55 cm)

Tryptych Water for the Dead, 1992 Three unique Polaroids, 24 x 20 cm (70 x 55 cm)

Tryptych Water for the Dead, 1992 Three unique Polaroids, 24 x 20 cm (70 x 55 cm)

Tryptych Water for the Dead, 1992 Three unique Polaroids, 24 x 20 cm (70 x 55 cm)

Tryptych Water for the Dead, 1992 Three unique Polaroids, 24 x 20 cm (70 x 55 cm)

Tryptych Water for the Dead, 1992 Three unique Polaroids, 24 x 20 cm (70 x 55 cm)

Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, 1999, unique, Carina, Prague

Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, 1999, unique, Carina, Prague

Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, 1999, unique, Carina, Prague

Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, 1999, unique, Carina, Prague

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Series Lichaamstaal (Body Language), 1998, Polaroid, 24 x 20 in (70 x 55 cm) + frame, unique

Black Skull, Large Polaroid / Polacolor, 1992, 206,6 x 112 cm,  unique from the series Long Playing Record

Black Skull, Large Polaroid / Polacolor, 1992, 206,6 x 112 cm, unique from the series Long Playing Record

Photograph Reprint from S’He from the series Renais sense, 1972, 2016, unique: 130 x 100 cm

Photograph Reprint from S’He from the series Renais sense, 1972, 2016, unique: 130 x 100 cm

Watuma Australia, 1979, colour photophraph, 1/6: 70 x 39 cm (aboriginal)

Watuma Australia, 1979, colour photophraph, 1/6: 70 x 39 cm (aboriginal)

Soliloquy from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

Soliloquy from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

Soliloquy from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 10,8 x 8,5 cm, 1973

Soliloquy from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 10,8 x 8,5 cm, 1973

Soliloquy from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 10,8 x 8,5 cm, 1973

Soliloquy from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 10,8 x 8,5 cm, 1973

S’HE from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

S’HE from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

S’HE from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

S’HE from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

S’HE from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

S’HE from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

S’HE from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973

S’HE from the series Renais sense, Auto-Polaroid type 107, 8,5 x 10,8 cm, 1973