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Label: amalia ulman

Wednesday 24th February 2016Artist Spotlight: A Fake Instagram Life

We've been discussing Instagram a lot lately, both for the impressive reach of the photographic social media giant and how it has transformed casual photography, but also because of the profound impact that it's had on the art world in general. In today's Artist Spotlight, we're going to look at the work of Argentina-born artist Amalia Ulman, who some are already crowning the creator of the first true masterpiece of Instagram.

It's quite remarkable how quickly Instagram (and, to be fair, other social media) has worked its way into every aspect of people's lives, often to such an extent that subjects typically reserved for close family and friends suddenly get smeared across the internet for the eager public to gobble up. So when Ulman's Instagram feed appeared following her apparent move to Los Angeles, she blended right into the gestalt of modern life.

Covering every aspect of her life, she attracted thousands of followers who kept a close eye on her trials, triumphs and messy recoveries. Unbeknownst to her legions of followers, however, the entire life she had constructed online was a complete and utter fabrication.

Ulman turned the best photos from her constructed life into an exhibit entitled "Excellences and Perfections", which is currently on display in the Whitechapel Gallery in London. It was so successful that it will also be included in a multi-artist exhibit at the Tate Modern, collectively titlted "Performing for the Camera".

Speaking with Interview magazine, Ulman discussed the reactions to her work: “With Excellences and Perfections, people got so mad at me for using fiction. That was the main critique: ‘It wasn’t the truth? How dare you! You lied to people!’ Well, that’s because you should learn that everyone is lying online. I’m not the first one!

“There are so many girls that go to hotels to take a better selfie, or another expensive place. If they’re trying to be a social climber or whatever, that’s what they do. It’s normal. It’s becoming more and more normal to be conscious of those things. It’s funny how people still take it with this value of truth."

WIth that kind of hilarious yet extremely poignant sendup, it's no wonder that Ulman is on Forbes magazine's latest edition of the 30 under 30 list, a yearly look at up and coming entrepreneurs, artists, and disruptors under the age of 30. Expect more great things from her, whether or not Excellences and Perfections goes down in history or not.

Posted on February 24th 2016 on 06:48pm
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