Amalia Ulman

Stock Images of War
January 11—February 8, 2015

Her first solo exhibition in New York, Stock Images Of War is an immersive installation exploring themes of deconstruction, confinement, fragility and war. In a global community of emotions, war is gossip, torture is a parallel act of deconstruction and images serve the function of heavy artillery.

Cherry Picker, Sherwood Forest, Pink Rose, Night Blossoms.

Becoming a log: logging in, logging out.

Where narcissism becomes a stratagem we need mirrors to learn our poses, to attract and seduce like England does with a third world country.

Within the gallery, Ulman has installed a series of augmented metallic figures produced during a period of personal confinement. Dispersed throughout the room, these wire skeletons are constantly fighting to stand their ground. Stuck in a purgatory of imperfect balance, their compositions oscillate between stability and complete collapse. Around the gallery’s perimeter is an immersive black drapery entombing the audience. This ceremonial décor theatrically frames the frail sculptures, whose only illumination is a handful of spotlights.

All of this happens amidst a nauseating smell of Baked Apple Strudel, of someone cooking dessert in factory quantities, of someone cooking and dancing to teenage hits, to easy political songs, because only in a state of neoteny is it possible to believe in the fantasy of the dehumanized other, the other as cake.

We don't need no water let the motherfucker burn,

Burn motherfucker burn.

Born in 1989, Amalia Ulman is an Argentinean-born, predominantly Spanish-raised artist, based between the cities of Los Angeles, London, New York, and Gijón. As a self-described transatlantic expat, a spirit of national nomadism and outsider cultural inquisitiveness inform her practice.

Her works are primarily voiced in the first person, often blurring the distinction between the artist and object of study. In a multidisciplinary manner, she charts a soft-toned exploration of the relationship between consumerism and identity, class imitation and social deception, altruism and Orientalism - with a particular focus on the idea of ‘cute’ and ‘pretty’. She uses the aesthetic languages of the middle, its ‘sublime ordinariness’, as a mechanism to explore the intersection of class and aesthetics at its most salient point: taste. It is the finger-pointing and moralizing of ‘pretty’ that perhaps allows us to see that Ulman’s work is remarkable in that its reception is marked by a conflicted sense of pleasure and unease, and even shame and hypocrisy. Such ideas are expanded in her work, whose light touch asks not only how aesthetic consumption aligns one to a particular class position, but also, how a position of criticality is itself a space of privilege.

She is a Feminist.

Recent solo shows and projects include Babyfootprints Crowsfeet, Ellis King, Dublin (2014); The Destruction Of Experience, Evelyn Yard, London (2014) and Excellences & Perfections, a performance in social media that has been archived by Rhizome and will become a video for MOCAtv.

Ulman designed the application Ethira with the support of Arcadia_Missa and The Moving Museum. She has written numerous essays and participated in talks at Art Basel Miami Beach; The Swiss Institute, New York; and ICA, London.


Amalia Ulman