Love in Silence. {Video}

Via Kate Bartolotta
on Mar 9, 2013
get elephant's newsletter



If you aren’t quite sure what love looks like anymore, but still believe in it;

If you believe that love isn’t about making anyone stay;

If you believe that love is hearing each other’s song, yet resting contented in each other’s silence;

If you know that love is not clinging, or bondage, but space in between your togetherness,

This story is for you:

Marina Abramovic and Ulay were artists who met and fell in love in the 70s. For a decade, they did avant-garde collaborative work, even referring to themselves as a collective being, “The Other.” Yet like many intense collaborations, it ran its course. The flames that burn the brightest sometimes burn out quickly. They parted ways after one final trip across The Great Wall of China. They began at opposite ends, each walking the 2500 kilometers to meet in the middle before they said goodbye.

At her 2010 MoMa retrospective, Marina performed a piece titled, “The Artist Is Present.” She sat in silence for a minute with each stranger who sat in front of her. At the opening night of the show, Ulay was among them. This is that chapter of their story:


Best comment, below: “Because we never stop silently loving those who we once loved out loud.”

There are so many cliches about love: Love is a many splendored thing. Love lifts us up where we belong.

All you need is love.

I may have a lot to learn about love, and I’m only an amateur artist, but this video touched me in both aspects. Because after all:

“I feel there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.”

~ Vincent van Gogh


Like elephant love on Facebook.


About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven. She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. Kate's books are now available on and Barnes & She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.


42 Responses to “Love in Silence. {Video}”

  1. darkorpheus says:

    I’ve been watching this video the last few days. And I still tear up.

  2. chris moore says:

    You only need to plant one dandelion. They'll take care of the rest.

  3. Yes, but blowing the seeds into the air to make a wish and wondering where they will bloom, like new freckles, is one of my favorite parts of summer.

  4. I agree. I haven't decided whether their love is wonderful or tragic. Or both. In any case, it's beautiful.

  5. kmacku says:

    If tragedy wasn't beautiful, it wouldn't have been made into a thousand plays.

  6. Maybe it's the fact that it's so fleeting and fragile (and therefore, we think of it as tragic) that makes it beautiful. Love Neruda's take on it: “Love is so short, forgetting is so long.”

  7. Bluey says:

    Same here, darkorpheus…

  8. darkorpheus says:

    Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
    Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

    I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
    Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

    Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
    my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

    Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
    and these the last verses that I write for her.

  9. Yes! Ahh, love Neruda.

  10. Spenglar says:

    The day I stop crying watching this, I will be dead. If not, please somebody help me be.

  11. Lorie says:

    Oh my heart. I miss my husband so desperately. And there’s nothing I can do to change it. I get no comfort from standing in the cemetery to be near him.

    I’d give everything for one chance to sit across from him in silence for just a minute.

  12. Paul says:

    It's a beautiful video. I cry every time I see it. Can't help noticing though, that most people when they "meet her", it's as if they're in a competition . By their furrowed brows, etc. Thought that was interesting.

  13. […] Love in Silence. {Video}. […]

  14. ruthsnow says:

    Love is respecting the other person's freedom.

  15. lorraine garnier says:

    The act of gazing deeply without pause without the need to immediately blink, the ability to look and feel beyond the outside, in. One will always find love if they are patient in each and every being. Love is always possible.

  16. Leela says:

    I recognize this…poetic, beautiful, a human suffering at times, yet a divine right…….all love……

  17. mary says:

    Love is tragic love is divine and all that comes in between, their eyes said it all. Sadness and joy at the same time.

  18. Joyous Living says:

    power of the gaze and the heart and the infinite…stunning.

  19. Bryan says:

    This is a beautiful and poignant video. I wonder what he said to her. His body language seems to say 'let it go.'

  20. Tim says:

    Beautiful. And interesting that "Love" isn't beaming smiles of ecstasy to all who dare to look it in the eyes.

  21. Edith says:

    When we are really present with people, so much is said with no words at all. Whether its a lover or held within the eyes our child. I believe we begin to really connect and see ourselves, the good/bad, in their eyes.

  22. Elaine says:

    Just WOW!!

  23. OlgaC says:

    Love just happens. I know it happened to me and since the day I met him there has not been a day that I do not think of him or miss him in some way. Love just is.

  24. Peter says:


  25. Judy says:

    Oh dear Lorie, I am so sorry. I will think of you when I am being petty with my love, and hopefully it will help me to correct myself. I am so sorry for your loss.

  26. Judy says:

    Thank you, Kate!

  27. Paul says:

    Yes. But if you watch the whole film you might suspect that this moment is as much about performance as it is about love. Really, take the time to watch the whole film — it's much more complex than this short leads one to believe.

  28. Joyce says:

    hmmm…isn't that cool? you saw the furrowed brows as competition. I saw the furrowed brows as an inability to accept the love she must have been sending them. Perhaps you and I are seeing them through our own stories?? It would be interesting to know what they ACTUALLY were thinking/feeling, eh? Maybe it's neither competition nor sorrow… 🙂

  29. Joyce says:

    Love never dies. Given the nature of love…it simply can never die. When people think they have fallen out of love with someone, it's not because the love is gone…it's simply because they have decided to not feel the love. There may have been difficult things that have occurred; choices that have caused pain, resentments… leaving us feeling rejected and betrayed. But the truth is…those are just reasons we give to convince ourselves to not feel the love. To feel love for someone when the person is no longer physically in our life can be excruciating. So we convince ourselves that we no longer love them. But when there is forgiveness and acceptance of 'what is' then it is possible to still feel the love. We don't build reasons within ourselves to block loves' presence. We feel it still…long after the person is no longer physically present in our lives. I know this kind of love and I recognized it in the exchange between Marina and Ulay. It's beautiful and excruciating at the same time.

  30. Joe Sparks says:

    You do not have to wait or be a famous artists to be human.. Everyone can do this, it is called taking turns listening to each other. Sad, something so simple, so beautiful, so within our reach, and practically no one every takes the time to set their life up to have this experience. Most of us would heal from whatever happen to us, if we felt safe enough to show ourselves. Thanks for sharing!

  31. tina b says:

    I don't like that they added music to their segment, it puts emotion into your mind, instead of it being more powerful as the artist intended it to be-in silence.

  32. Bernadette Schilder says:

    How difficult it must have been for the woman coming to sit in front of Marina after those intense moments with Uli…and how wonderful to see and feel Marina being "present" again with her. Take a look at the very last second of this video…to me this is also a very special moment..!

  33. greatnorthsky says:

    This Was Unbelievable, At First I Was Like, Yeah Right!!!!!!!!! But When I Saw Him Walk Up, i Could Feel His HEART Pounding. Then The Expression On Her Face Came Through, The LOVE Exploded In My HEART. I Saw and I Felt It, Ohhhhhhhhhhh Soooooooo Deep. I Truly Understand This Feeling, It's Sooooooooo Deep, and To Have The Opportunity To Experience It For Yourself In Any Of Your Lifetimes, Is The Greatest Gift Of All.

    The Tears Are Still Flowing, MMMMMMMMMM.

    Thank You, Thank You and Thank You,

    Thank You Soooooooooo Much ♡ ♡ ♡

  34. Ellen says:

    I have absolutely known this kind of love…. I cry each time I watch this. Beautiful..thank you

  35. Kate Flood says:

    I think what adds to the poignancy of this interaction that wasn't mentioned above is that Marina Abramovic and Ulay had not see each other in over 23 years. This is the power of the soul. This is the power of love. The invisible connection between our loved ones made visible here.

  36. Vincent says:

    Thanks Kate.
    Do you know if she was expecting him? A surprise visit? My heart would explode if that were me!

  37. Sonia says:

    I love her. Check out this interview for The Guardian from last May.

  38. Christine says:

    You should just do that. And I really mean it. He will be there with you and if you really focus you see him, not with your emotiones but with your heart. Love is meant forever. You have never lost him, he is with you with every breath you take.

  39. Autumn says:

    I agree

  40. John Smith says:

    So beautiful, and teary video. Such a wonderful kind of love, so unconditional.

  41. @Mhor says:

    I saw it as their attempt to not look away – the uncomfortableness of someone truly staring at you. Which might be a little in line with what you thought Joyce

  42. kayjay67 says:

    i was wondering that, too! i was feeling like it was what you said or "oh well — it is what it is" kinda thing. and females do tend to cry easier, but i found he seemed absolute/resolved. and interesting that she reached for him first.