Ulay Life-Sized

13 Oct 2016 – 8 Jan 2017

Schirn Kunsthalle

Hesse, Germany


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  • Dom/Römer

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Schirn presents the first ever major survey exhibition by this exceptional artist.


He describes himself self-depre­cat­ingly, as the “most famous unknown artist”: Frank Uwe Laysiepen aka Ulay (*1943). Ulay radi­cally merges his own life with art. With his artistic concept of trans­for­ma­tion, he constantly creates new iden­ti­ties. His preferred medium is photog­raphy. Initially, in form of Polaroid, photog­raphy became an inte­gral part of his artistic prac­tice with its earliest results from 1970. The instant camera picture, which has now been replaced by the digital image, repre­sents for Ulay the mate­rial in his long search for the repre­sen­ta­tion of life. His body still today serves as the object of his research, where various influ­ences leave traces and can be read, just like on a canvas. SCHIRN presents the first ever major survey exhi­bi­tion by this excep­tional artist. In addi­tion to numerous indi­vidual actions of perfor­ma­tive photog­raphy and body art, Ulay has real­ized many projects with other artists or has been influ­enced by them: Through the friend­ship withJürgen Klauke he discov­ered sepa­rately the problem of iden­tity and invented so called perfor­ma­tive photog­raphy; with his muse Paula Françoise-Piso he created photo­graphic series, in which he inten­si­fied self-analysis until its complete disso­lu­tion; with his former partner Marina Abra­mović he even­tu­ally gained an exten­sion of perfor­mance art that belongs to the most influ­en­tial activ­i­ties in that genre till today. The exhi­bi­tion at SCHIRN brings together Ulay’s remark­able oeuvre in a compre­hen­sive way. On show are both new works and perfor­mances, devised by the artist specif­i­cally for this exhi­bi­tion, as well as numerous works of art, which he held back for years and which are now on view publicly for the first time. 

Exhibiting artists



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