Ulay Was Here

21 November - 18 April at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
At the end of 2020, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam presents a solo exhibition by the German-Dutch artist Ulay. Although famous for his long-term collaboration with his former partner Marina Abramović (1976–1988), he created a profound and radical solo oeuvre in the years before and after.

Key factors in the work of the artist Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen, Solingen, Germany, 30 November 1943 - Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2 March 2020) are processes of (chemical) change, switching between identities, and embracing uncertainty and chance. From the outset of his artistic career, Ulay’s work engaged with the world at large, articulating an intense and very immediate relationship with social change and with the unfolding of (recent) histories.

Ulay settled in Amsterdam in the late nineteen sixties, when the city was a hotbed of experiment both socially and politically, and in the arena of the visual artists. Ulay’s ties with Amsterdam remained; he spent part of his time living and working in the city. Over the years, the Stedelijk bought work by Ulay, as well as pieces that date from his collaboration with Marina Abramović.

Ulay’s work exists on the intersection of photography and the conceptually-focused approaches of performance and body art. Polaroid photos, unique objects and, in his case, often exceptionally large images, are fundamental to his oeuvre. This show pivots around four themes that amplify the contemporary relevance of Ulay’s work: his focus on performance and the performative aspects of photography; his research into gender identity and the body as a medium; his engagement with social and political issues and his relationship with Amsterdam.

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Museumplein 10,

1071 DJ,


+31 (0)20 5732911,



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