press release

POWER PLAY Anna Uddenberg

April 5–September 22, 2019

In her work, Anna Uddenberg explores social conventions and norms that are the products of consumer culture. She challenges ingrained ways of thinking and seeing as well as ideas of mental and physical mobility. Through the lens of the feedback loop that is social media, the artist analyses systems of representation, the performativity of femme expressions and its cross-connection to consumer culture and gender studies. The artist’s interest in femme as figuration is geared towards exploring power dynamics in the service domain, and towards disputing the idea of femininity as “being eager to please,” as “active listener,” as “flexible/adaptive/user-friendly” to reveal what happens when these roles are amplified and over-performed to a degree of uncanny absurdity.

By elaborating, displacing and saturating textures, tropes and elements that are meant to be cosy or comfortable, the artist flips the script of conventional readings of femininity to argue that these codes serve someone else’s pleasure and that femininity is connected to exploitation.With their ecstatically arched bodies, the figures present a near-acrobatic three-dimensional still life and a complex dynamic narrative that question our ideals of perfection.

This elaborate approach is also translated in Uddenberg’s furniture-esque pieces. At first glance, they seem functional and suggestive of comfort, luxury and security, but they reveal a cryptic extraction of figuration and carry on the gender-specific theme at the heart of the artist’s practice. Seen together in the specially designed exhibition space, the figures engage in a compelling Power Play.

Uddenberg’s exaggeration of the figure as well as her method of deconstructing and (re)constructing it as a collaged synthesis of objets trouvés and handmade objects hold up a mirror to modern society. Her visually disturbing and often surprising works invite us to question the values of our contemporary societies.

"Between fetish and sculpture every work by Anna Uddenberg attaches itself to our current understanding of power, exploitation and self-representation." Rein Wolfs, Director of the Bundeskunsthalle

Anna Uddenberg attended the Städel School in Frankfurt before continuing her studies at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, where she graduated in 2011. Since then, she has had several solo exhibitions and participated in numerous important exhibitions, among them the 9th Berlin Biennale, Manifesta 11 in Zurich and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Curator: Susanne Kleine
Director: Rein Wolfs
Managing Director: Patrick Schmeing