In 2010, performance artist Marina Abramovic invited strangers to sit in front of her for a minute of silence.
Part of her Museum of Modern Art retrospective titled The Artist is Present, visitors had an opportunity to share a moment of silent dialogue.
Abramovic is no stranger to taxing performances. One piece involved the artist sitting for six hours in front of a table with a variety of objects ranging from, but not limited to, a loaded gun to a candle to a feather to rose thorns. The audience was allowed to do anything to Abramovic with those objects.
In the 1970s, Abramovic met German artist Ulay, and the two became lovers and collaborators. By the late 1980s, their relationship was coming to its end.
The split wasn’t conventional: They walked from opposite ends of the Great Wall of China until they met in the middle. Then they hugged and said goodbye.
Since then, curator Klaus Biesenbach told Blouin ArtInfo that the two “have been in contact sporadically over the years.” According to Biesenbach, Ulay was a guest of honor at the opening but no one was certain if he’d have an opportunity to sit in front of Abramovic.
When he did arrive, Abramovic struggled to remain in the moment.
You can watch their reunion below:
Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that the Ulay and Abramovic have not seen each other since their breakup. In fact, the two have been in contact “sporadically over the years.”