As far as her close-to-90,000 Instagram followers knew, Amalia Ulman was just one young, conventionally-attractive girl in a sea of young, conventionally-attractive girls who moved to LA to chase fame.
Meanwhile, those who knew her IRL were freaking out. The Argentinian-born Ulman was posting photos of herself taking pole-dancing classes and undergoing breast enhancement surgery, and people in her real life feared she was throwing her promising art career away.
As the Telegraph reports, a gallery she was showing with asked Amalia to knock it off with the Kardashian-esque Instas, insisting that people were no longer taking her seriously. Little did everyone know that these Instagrams would launch Amalia into the next phase of her career, because they were, in fact, her latest art project, a performance art piece entitled “Excellences and Perfections.”
And, yes, that means the whole breast-enhancement thing was faked. According to Amalia, everything was faked.
“Everything was scripted,” Ulman told the Telegraph “I spent a month researching the whole thing. There was a beginning, a climax and an end. I dyed my hair. I changed my wardrobe. I was acting: it wasn’t me.”
The stunt worked. Not only were her followers fooled, but now her work is moving from Instagram to a platform with a little more prestige — London’s world-famous Tate Modern museum. “Excellences and Perfections” will show at the Tate Modern’s “Performing for the Camera” exhibition as well as in the “Electronic Superhighway” exhibition, at the Whitechapel Gallery in east London.
Though it may seem that Ulman is spoofing a certain kind of Instagram user a la the #vscocam-loving Socality Barbie, as she tells the Telegraph, her motives behind making her Instagram art were, in fact, pretty profound:
“It’s more than a satire. I wanted to prove that femininity is a construction, and not something biological or inherent to any woman. Women understood the performance much faster than men. They were like, ‘We get it – and it’s very funny.’ ” What was the joke? “The joke was admitting how much work goes into being a woman and how being a woman is not a natural thing. It’s something you learn.”
Okay, that explains Amalia Ulman’s account, it was art, cool, that still leaves many, MANY Instagrams with some ‘splaining to do.
(Images via Instagram)