CtC’s Artist of the Month for October is Amalia Ulman (Argentina, 1989).
The idea of persona in the age of telecommunication has become something ingrained into our everyday lives, encouraged by the ever-present smartphone in hand and WiFi signal at the ready. The increasingly accelerated form of communication questions the idea of the self, with the heavy emphasis on body imagery becoming further enhanced. Scrolling through the endless threads of social media outlets -Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – reveals a startling collage of many individual attempts at self-branding. Is this the creation of an ecology of self-commoditisation?
Amalia Ulman’s performance, via her Instagram account, captivated audiences with her characterisation of multiple, female stereotypes. Her four-month performance was split into different segments; her aspirations of becoming a model living in the big city, to relationship heartbreak, drug abuse, and, finally, redemption. Meanwhile her audience of followers sat waiting in anticipation for a fictional character, that they believed was real, to fail. In the talk held at the ICA in collaboration with Rhizome,“Do You Follow? Art in Circulation”, Ulman explained that her original inspiration for the performance was the Korean schoolgirl Instagram accounts which had a notoriety for generating interesting, personal narratives in the attempt to gain more followers. Amalia Ulman’s performance, Excellence is Perfection, exposes the internal workings of our self-perpetuated body economy, how pliable it is, and shows that one of the main aggravators of stereotyping is ourselves.
More recently Amalia Ulman took the role of director and shooting her own porno film, with real porn actors for an exhibition, International House of Cozy, taking place at the Showroom MAMA. For this work, Ulman lets her imagination loose on the hipster brand and visual aesthetic. With her interesting plays on social media and tongue in cheek wit it’ll be interesting to see what this ‘transatlantic expat’ will get up to next.
For the month of October, CtC will present a selection of Amalia Ulman’s works on the Facebook and Twitter pages.
Check the CtC pages regularly to see the next one.
Images courtesy of the artist.