This photograph and sketch are part of a series documenting The Lovers: Great Wall Walk, a physical and spiritual trek undertaken from opposite ends of China’s Great Wall by Serbian artist Marina Abramović and her then collaborator, the German-born, Amsterdam-based artist Ulay.
Conceived in 1983 and realised in 1988, the performance lasted three months. Abramović walked two thousand kilometres westward from Shanhaiguan, the wall’s easternmost point, in Qinhuangdao, known colloquially as the ‘dragon’s head’. Ulay walked the same distance eastward from the ‘dragon’s tail’ at Jiayuguan, the wall’s westernmost point, in Gansu Province. Upon meeting near Erlang Shan temple in Shenmu, Shaanxi Province, the couple embraced—a signal that they would not marry, but end their twelve-year professional and personal partnership instead.
The photograph documents the walk, and a drawn figure flanked by the words spirit and exit represents the energy from various objects that Abramović found and felt along the way—an experience that would directly inform her later Transitory Objects series.