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Argentinian-born, Spanish-raised and London-educated artist Amalia Ulman has a practice that is as multifaceted as it is meticulous. Her work revolves around notions of femininity; she carefully investigates the tropes of girlhood and middlebrow aesthetics that dominate western culture, be it young-girl Instagram profiles, or as in her latest solo show, Destruction of Experience at London’s Evelyn Yard, the visual templates of self-help guides and corporate identity.
Destruction of Experience is an immersive installation which calls upon the sterile hygiene of a doctor’s waiting room, or perhaps the soft-spoken politeness of an office lobby. Ulman speaks this bland language as a way to perform critique. She teases the relationship between corporate identity, consumerism and beauty through subtly altered replications: motivational boards, customized office calendars and room odorizers. These are embedded with a profound personal as well as cultural anxiety, an anxiety of beauty standards and ‘success’ in a time of extreme socializing individualism.
Ulman immerses herself fully in her projects, acting as artist, object, academic researcher and auteur across the many formats that her practice exists within. Her visual seminar/essay The Future Ahead, for example, is a compelling and legitimate feminist reading of ‘Justin Bieberism’ and digitally-mediated sexuality in young fangirls. She recently scripted and staged a multi-month performance on Instagram, in which the audience was confronted with a young LA tumblr-girl’s encounters with money, men, plastic surgery, fame and breakdown, and eventual spiritual rehabilitation. Ulman extracts narratives from a contemporary, mediated life-experience, and does so in the most elegant manner.
Open until the 13th of November.