In Excellences and Perfections Amalia Ulman reports on her personal development during the period when she moved to Los Angeles, after she had graduated from the academy in London. The artwork was realised in the form of the feed from her Instagram page. The photo compilation began in March 2014, and ended eighty posts later in September of the same year. In these six months her followers, ignorant of the intention behind te project, witnessed the transformation Ulman went through in her new surroundings.
Excellences & Perfections is about femininity as a construction, not something biologically or inherent to being a woman, but something that emerges under pressure from our culture. Instagram is the medium. Young women compare themselves there to celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian West and Beyonce. Together they account for billions of likes. If femininity gets stature anywhere, then it is here.
The Art of Amalia Ulman is as much criticism as appropriation. Is this not what our world encourages, to make a performance of our personal life? As something that exists by the power of its visibility and can not survive without stage?
What makes this work so powerful and inescapable is that the artist presents herself as much as consumer as a producer. The images she adds hardly deviate from the mainstream, but because of this they manage to penetrate even deeper. Middle Brow art, not as a defensive strategy, but as an effective and above all necessary method to connect with the reality of today.