In 2010, performance artist Marina Abramović sat in silence at New York's Museum of Modern Art — eight hours a day, for three months.
In the retrospective titled "The Artist Is Present," Abramović spent one minute of silence with each stranger who sat across from her. It was one of her many pieces throughout a long career that Judith Thurman of The New Yorker says can be broken "into three periods: before, with, and after [Frank Uwe Laysiepen]."
Laysiepen (known in the art world as Ulay) was Abramović's artistic collaborator and lover for 12 years.
They shared a powerful, romantic relationship, but it ended dramatically.
Naturally, the two turned their breakup into a recorded performance called "The Lovers" (1988).
"I loved him more than myself...”
...Abramović said of their connection.
The two lost touch, but decades later, at Abramović's "The Artist Is Present" exhibition, something unexpected happened.
One man, who wasn't a stranger at all, came and sat down in front of her.
It was Ulay. It had been over 20 years since they had last seen each other.
Footage from a 2012 documentary entitled "Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present" captures the heart-wrenching moment when these two ex-lovers are reunited for the first time.
Abramović and Laysiepen, who had to remain silent, fight back tears, take each other's hands, and just look at each other with more emotion than words could even describe.
And we, along with Abramović, can barely keep it together. Watch below:
Though this moment dates back to 2010, it reminds us that the power of human connection, despite distance or circumstance, can withstand the test of time — and that is a beautiful thing.
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