Ulay (Uwe Laysiepen, 1943, Solingen, Germany) studied photography from 1962-68 after an apprenticeship as a mechanical engineer. He worked in the fields of experimental photography, film and environment until 1975. In all his works the central content is the relationship of body, space and society. During his live he traveled to different countries to collaborate with local artists, among others the Netherlands, Central Australia, China, Germany, United States.
From 1976 to 1989 he worked together with Marina Abramović. The performances of this period are amongst the best known of Ulay's work. In 1988, Ulay and Abramovic decided to make a spiritual journey, which would end their relationship. Each of them walked the Great Wall of China, starting from the two opposite ends and meeting in the middle. Ulay started from the Gobi Desert and Abramović from the Yellow Sea. After each of them walked 2500 km, they met in the middle and said "good-bye".
Due to his education as a photographer, he documented his performances constantly. One of his favorite media is and was the Polaroid. After 5 years as a professor for performance and media-art at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe (1999–2004) in Germany he moved back to Amsterdam but he still travels through the world. He continues working with photography but performed for the last time at Mediamatic's "It's Happening Now" in Amsterdam on May 6th 2007. His actual project WATERTOALL focuses on the Arab world and its water shortage in comparison with the sinking Netherlands.