After almost a year of legal negotiations with Marina Abramović, Ulay will now receive payment and full accreditation for works he created with his former partner. As the Guardian first reported, a Dutch court ruled yesterday that Abramović had violated a contract the pair had signed in 1999 — following their dramatic split on the Great Wall of China — to manage their past collaborative efforts.
The document stipulates that their works must be jointly credited, but Ulay claimed that Abramović had not given him his due on many of them. His lawsuit, filed in November, also argued that Abramović had failed to provide accurate records of sales and paid him only four times in the nearly two decades since the two signed the contract.
Ulay, who recently staged his first New York performance in 30 years, will now receive full accreditation on the pair’s works made between 1976 and 1988. He is also entitled to back-date royalties equal to 20% of sale profits, which means that, on top of settling legal fees amounting to over €23,000 (~$25,600), Abramović must pay her ex-lover more than €250,000 (~$279,000). She (or perhaps some unpaid interns) will also have a lot of paperwork to do: the court has ordered her to provide a complete written record of all sales and all copies of any artworks made from 2007 onwards.
Abramović may have lost this major case, but at least she has the publication of her memoir to look forward to next month. Let’s just hope it’s been purged of any and all racist descriptions.
As arts communities around the world experience a time of challenge and change, accessible, independent reporting on these developments is more important than ever.
Please consider supporting our journalism, and help keep our independent reporting free and accessible to all.