Marina Abramović

The Lovers (4 Shoes), 1988/1996

Marina Abramović (Serbian, born 1946), The Lovers (4 Shoes), 1988/1996, color photograph with unique drawing, 28 3/4 x 27 in. Schwartz Art Collection, Harvard Business School, 1999.1. © Marina Abramovic © Courtesy of the Marina Abramovic Archives / (ARS), New York.

These two photographs are documents of a performance piece, The Lovers, by artists Marina Abramović and Ulay. In 1988, the two artists walked from either end of the Great Wall of China toward each other. When they met, they embraced and then parted, ending their relationship. Here is the artist statement for the work:

At a chosen location

We walked the entire length of the Great Wall of China.

We started on 30 March 1988.

I started walking at the eastern end of the Wall, at Shai Hai Guan, on the shores of the Yellow Sea, Gulf of Bohai, walking westward.

Ulay started walking at the western end of the Wall, at Jai Yu Guan, the south-western periphery of the Gobi Desert, walking eastward.

We walked until we met.

After we both continuously walked for 90 days, we met at Er Lang Shan, in Shen Mu, Shaanxi province.

We each took a 2,000 kilometre walk to say goodbye.