|This is my entry for the "Give the Gift of Art" challenge|
Resources used to create this artistic gift:
-A5 paper (x2)
-ink pot and dip pen
-computer for digital editing
-Inkscape for vector background drawing
This gift has been made in commemoration and retrospection of a special relationship I share with someone and she knows who she is... A few months ago, a friend (who has silently observed our dynamic) referred to her as "the Ulay to [my] Marina". I liked the parallel this friend made, and that li'l quote lingered in my mind...
Marina Abramovic & Ulay's artistic partnership is the best love story art has ever produced. It's not that mushy, overly exposed, theatrical-displays-of-affections-for-public-consumption kind of love -- it's more reserved, more quiet, more meaningful and more sentimental. It's grounded in two people sharing a connection, a deep connection with another human being. Regardless of alterations in time and space, their connection remains strong; an unfaultering foundation.
The reference picture used to create this drawing was from a 1977 partnership performance by the pair called "Relation in Time". The couple tied their hair tightly together and sat back-to-back for approximately seventeen hours, forming a physical connection and becoming one being, whilst simultaneously a connection of shared emotional endurance, having each other's back and share history of go through those seventeen hours together.
As the hours dragged on, the hair bridge began to unravel and fray, the central point sags down, revealing a heart.
Their performance provides many visual metaphors. One that's particularly noteworthy is the hair bridge (a symbol for) starting of strong, tightly woven, seemingly impenetrable but the effects of time took place and what seemed to be unchanging changed anyway. Relationships are weathered, tested against time -- the connection is still there but the reception has been lost. Even the strongest of relationship needs a little bit of mending, and I think we both need that reminder.
In the negative space between the two figures, I weaved into the paper a red ribbon to form a heart. Although this is a tired almost-cliché, the particular ribbon used holds sentimental value. On some languid afternoon last year, she tied a piece of red ribbon onto my wrist and tied it into a bow. Since then I've kept it -- it always makes me smile. It's like aspects of my harmonised and lead up to this moment where I could make this gift.
As we all know how the tale continued, Ulay and Marina decided to go their separate ways physically, ending that aspect of their relationship with a physically taxing, emotionally enduring performance walking the length of the Great Wall, spending hours in retrospection of their relationship.
And just like Ulay and Marina, our relationship is undergoing a similar environmental change: next year for both of us are moving away from our hometown, landing up in two different places with this little pond called the Atlantic separating us. I wonder whether we'll and have an Artist-Is-Present physical reunion, but only time holds that answer.
At its core, this is a gift of gratitude. I'm glad that so far in my life I've been able to experience that level of relationship, of understanding and being understood, of connection with another. I don't know whether this relationship will follow the path of Ulay and Marina, but regardless of what the future holds, I can hold onto that sentiment.