Events — 29 Apr 2021

Don't miss out, the online premiere of ULAY: REVOLT! on Thursday, April 29. An evening dedicated to Frank Uwe Laysiepen (Ulay) his work, life, activism and love for the city of Amsterdam.

29 Apr, 8 pm until 9 pm
Main language
Dutch/English (Closed captions available)
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An online program on his work, life, activism and love for the city of Amsterdam. In 1968, the German 25-year-old Frank Uwe Laysiepen, more widely known as Ulay, travels to Amsterdam. It marks a turning point in the life of the artist, who will later rise to world fame as a duo with Marina Abramović for their groundbreaking performance art. To Ulay, Amsterdam equals freedom. He immediately feels a connection with the Provo movement and identifies with their activism. He plunges into the city’s nightlife, examines his fluid identity and starts photographing himself in a form of performance photography that he labels “autopolaroids”.

In this talkshow, we delve into the life and work of Ulay with art journalist Yuki Kho. With photographer Daantje Bons we discuss her fascination for Ulay’s work, the connections and differences compared to her own practice, but also Ulay’s activism. Monika Szewczyk, director of de Appel, will talk about the special connection between this art institution and Ulay, as well as the contemporary art climate in Amsterdam for artists who, like Ulay, prefer to situate themselves on the city’s rough edges. Sophie Straat, a performer in the tradition of Dutch smartlap folk songs, will perform the ballad De Pijp about the changes in her beloved Amsterdam neighborhood. The program will be presented by Mirthe Frese.

Ulay, S'he, 1973–74, Original Auto-Polaroid, type 107, 8.5 x 10.8 cm. Courtesy ULAY Foundation.
Ulay, S'he, 1973–74, Original Auto-Polaroid, type 107, 8.5 x 10.8 cm. Courtesy ULAY Foundation.


Yuki Kho (1991) talks and writes about the (visual) arts. In her opinion, art is an international language, spoken by everyone, but one needs to realize they are speaking it. In collaboration with Ko van ’t Hek she runs the platform Kunst Kijken met Ko & Kho (“Looking at Art with Ko & Kho”). With Heske ten Cate she produces Naakt op een Kleedje (“Naked on a Rug”), a podcast on female artists. As an online editor she produces the book show Brommer op Zee (“Moped at Sea”), for broadcaster VPRO.


As a visual artist I like to work with topics such as femininity, sexuality and identity. I examine thoughts and feelings, letting experiences lead the way. Learned gender patterns and deeply rooted ideals play a main role in this, as rebellion is one of my big passions. Photography, especially the self-portrait, is an important form of self-expression through which I aim to challenge and discuss taboos. Overly sweet aesthetics are used as bait in order to confront the spectator with provocative thoughts. This often leads to humoristic or absurd work, which I enjoy as a way of putting complex subjects into perspective and making them more accessible.


Szewczyk was born in Szczecin, Poland and grew up in Vancouver, Canada, where she had her first experiences with curatorial work. Szewczyk has an extensively international work background, most recently as curator of documenta 14: Learning from Athens. She studied International Relations (BA) and Art History (MA) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Meanwhile she worked as a curator, a writer and editor, and as a teacher. Szewczyk has worked as head of publications at the former Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art and as senior teacher at the Piet Zwart Institute. As of 2019, Monika Szewczyk is director of de Appel Amsterdam.


Dutch folk singer Sophie Straat grew up in the formerly working-class, but now heavily gentrified De Pijp neighborhood in the late 1990s. With her partner in crime Wieger she writes ethical folk ballads on how gentrification affects Amsterdam. Her debut album T Is Niet Mijn Schuld (“It’s Not My Fault”), with a contribution by singer Danny de Munk, was released as a graduation project but quickly won an Edison Pop Award in the “Dutch” category. The judges praise her sense of timeliness and urgency, commenting: “Music causes people to pay more attention to a message or protest. In addition, this album enables an entire new generation to experience the traditional smartlap folk ballad, a part of Dutch culture. Sophie Straat is an act, but certainly not a parody. Hopefully this is the start of a long career that sprang to life suddenly, without any previous musical experience.’


Mirthe Frese is a moderator, writer and program maker. For De Balie Frese has made successful programs such as De Vrijheidslezing, Grote Denkers and Generatie IK. In 2018, she wrote and performed her first solo performance, Retourtje Polen (“Return Trip to Poland”) for Theater Na de Dam. She is currently working on a historical novel on her Jewish-Moluccan family roots (expected 2022, Nijgh & Van Ditmar publishers). Whether she is writing, making theater, leading a debate or creating a program, her main goal is always to bring together a diversity of stories, histories and opinions.

Daantje Bons, 'Revival of the Fittest', courtesy artist.
Daantje Bons, 'Revival of the Fittest', courtesy artist.