Gastvortrag Amalia Ulman 28 Okt 2019


28.10.19 / 16.00 Uhr
Transmediale Kunst / Oskar-Kokoschka-Platz 2, 1010 Wien / EG / Hofatelier / Studio 1

Gastvortrag Amalia Ulman

Foto: Stefan Schwartzman

AGENDA is Amalia Ulman’s powerpoint presentation about Privilege, her latest online performance.

In AGENDA Ulman uses poetic language to narrate self experimentation with female hormones and the effects of excess estrogen in a body trapped between the carpeted floors and ceiling tiles of her DTLA office -a tight structure of vertical structures, linearity and clocks. This dreamlike storyline later develops into a series of cons and scams, economies of appearances and the rise and fall of Bob The Pigeon, an ode to a working class hero which finishes with pessimistic spiritual notes that the author recognizes as selfish, recognizing the entitlement of her nihilism, escapism and ability to complain to carry its own privilege—a position of criticality not accessible to all.

Amalia Ulman (b. 1989) is an artist with an office in downtown L.A. Born in Argentina but raised in Spain, she studied Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in London. Her works, which are primarily voiced in the first person, blur the distinction between the artist and object of study, often creating humorous, gentle deceptions, while exploring class imitation and the relationship between consumerism and identity. In addition to video, sculpture and installation work, her multidisciplinary practice has involved the use of social media, magazine photoshoots, interviews, self-promotion and brand endorsements as tools for the fabrication of fictional narratives. Ulman’s performance Excellences & Perfections was archived by Rhizome and the New Museum (New York) and exhibited at the Tate Modern and Whitechapel Gallery (London). Her most recent works are the video essay Annals of Private History (Frieze Live, 2015), and Privilege (online performance, 2016) and its subsequent solo shows: Labour Dance at Arcadia Missa (London), Reputation at New Galerie (Paris), Dignity at James Fuentes (New York), Intolerance at BARRO (Buenos Aires), Monday Cartoons at Deborah Schamoni (Munich), Atchoum! at Galerie Sympa (Figeac) and NEW WORLD 1717 at Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai). Her last video work Buyer Walker Rover Aka Then There was premiered in China at Art Wuzhen, a biennial curated by Feng Boyi.

About her work
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. The aesthetic is clean, minimal and translucent. The recurring imagery evokes mundane prosaicness with an undertone of possession, seduction, anxiety and insecurity.
Ubiquitous, everyday objects are observed as unearthed treasures concealing exotic truths, viewed from a furtive, almost voyeuristic vantage point.
In a multidisciplinary manner, she charts a soft-toned exploration of the relationships 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.