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Amalia Ulman

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Amalia Ulman
Ulman in 2016
Born1989 (age 34–35)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Argentina
  • Spain
Alma materCentral Saint Martins
OccupationMultidisciplinary artist
Years active2012–present

Amalia Ulman (born 1989) is an Argentine-Spanish artist and film director based in New York City whose practice includes performance, installation, video and net-art works. Her work deals with issues of class, gender, sexuality, and middlebrow aesthetics.[1][2][3] In 2021, Ulman made her feature film debut, with El Planeta.

Early life[edit]

Ulman was born in Argentina in 1989[3] and was raised in Gijón, in the Spanish province of Asturias, after emigrating with her family.[4][5]

In 2009, she left Spain to study at Central Saint Martins in London, where she graduated in 2011.[6] In 2013, she was in a serious Greyhound bus accident that left her with a permanent disability.[7][8]


In April 2013, Ulman presented a video essay Buyer, Walker, Rover as a Skype lecture at the Regional State Archives in Gothenburg.[9]

In 2014, she presented two solo shows in LA, CA, Used & New at ltd Los Angeles[10] and Delicious Works at Smart Objects, also in LA.[11]

The same year Ulman started "Excellences & Perfections", a four-month performance on her Instagram account where she fabricated a fictional characters whose story unfolded in three different episodes.[12][13] Her intention was to prove how easy an audience can be manipulated through the use of mainstream archetypes.[14][n 1] Instagram selfies were mainly taken sneaking into hotels and restaurants in Los Angeles and posted as if they documenting a real life.[16][17][18] It is a work that shifts the location of performance art and also extends ideas about feminist performance.[19] Excellences and Perfections was later chosen to be a part of the Electronic Superhighway Exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery in 2016.[20]

Ulman at The Inluencers in 2015

In October 2014, during Frieze Art Fair, Ulman presented a solo show The Destruction of Experience at Evelyn Yard in London.[21] For the show Ulman made "The Future Ahead", a video essay about Justin Bieber's "growth from angelic teenager to hetero-normative white male".[22]

In January 2015, she presented Stock Images of War, her first solo show in New York City at James Fuentes Gallery.[23] It is an immersive installation composed of twelve simple wire-frame sculptures, each one being after a different month of the year – i.e. "War in January", "War in February", etc.[24][25] Towards the end of the same year, Ulman started Privilege, a second, year long, Instagram performance that lasted until shortly after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The work presented an exaggerated version of Ulman that explored multiplicity in a corporate office setting.

In 2016 "Excellences and Perfections" was selected to be included in the group exhibition Performing for the Camera at Tate Modern, London (February—June 2016).[26] The exhibition, examined the relationship between photography and performance, brought together over 500 works spanning 150 years from the invention of photography to the selfie-culture of today.[27] Through Ulman's Instagram-based project, social media was examined in the historical context of photographic performances.[28] The installation was also part of the exhibition Electronic Highway at Whitechapel Gallery in London.[29] Ulman has been described as the first social network-based artist to enter top institutional galleries,[30][31][32] and the "First great Instagram Artist" by Elle magazine.[33]

In 2018, Excellences & Perfections was published as a book by Prestel. It includes the Instagram posts that she used for the project and essays by German artist Hito Steyerl, editor Rob Horning and others.[34]


In 2021, Ulman premiered her first feature film, El Planeta, at the Sundance Film Festival to critical acclaim.[35][36] Ulman wrote, produced, and directed the feature, which stars herself and her mother. An absurdist comedy, the film centers on the story of a mother and daughter facing eviction in post-crisis Spain and scamming their way to a more comfortable lifestyle. The film is loosely based on the real-life Spanish mother-daughter petty-crime duo Justina and Ana Belén.[37] The film was shot in black and white in Gijon, the Spanish town where Ulman grew up. In March 2021, film distribution company Utopia announced that it had bought the North American rights to El Planeta.[38] The film was selected for screening at the Brisbane International Film Festival and the Sydney Film Festival in October and November 2021 respectively.[4]

Ulman's next film will deal with climate change and will be shot in northern Argentina, where she was born.[39]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2021, Ulman lives with her husband in New York City.[40] Ulman is autistic.[41]

Solo exhibitions[edit]



  • Promise a Future, Marbriers 4, Geneva[44]
  • Moist Forever, Future Gallery, Berlin[45]
  • Ethira, Arcadia Missa, London[46]


  • Used & New, Ltd, Los Angeles[10]
  • Delicious Works, Smart Objects, Los Angeles[citation needed]
  • Babyfootprints Crow's Feet, Ellis King, Dublin[47]
  • The Destruction of Experience, Evelyn Yard Gallery, London[21]



  • Reputation, New Galerie, Paris[49][50][51]
  • Labour Dance, Arcadia Missa, London[46]


  • Dignity, James Fuentes Gallery, New York City[52][53]
  • Intolerance, Barro, Buenos Aires[54]
  • Monday Cartoons, Deborah Schamoni, Munich[55]
  • Atchoum!, Galerie Sympa, Figeac[56]
  • New World 1717, Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai[57]


  • Privilege, James Fuentes Gallery, New York City[58]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The narrative which unfolded over the course of the performance "Excellences & Perfections" was presented as follows: "The provincial girl moves to the big city, wants to be a model, wants money, splits up with her high-school boyfriend, wants to change her lifestyle, enjoys singledom, runs out of money because she doesn't have a job, because she is too self-absorbed in her narcissism, she starts going on seeking-arrangement dates, gets a sugar daddy, gets depressed, starts doing more drugs, gets a boob job because her sugar daddy makes her feel insecure about her body, and also he pays for it, she goes through a breakdown, redemption takes place, the crazy bitch apologizes, the dumb blonde turns brunette and goes back home. Probably goes to rehab, then she is grounded at her family house."[15]


  1. ^ "The New New Face: Amalia Ulman - Interviews - Art in America". artinamericamagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2 January 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  2. ^ Toro, Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, Marco Roso, Nick Scholl, David. "Destruction of Experience - Amalia Ulman at Evelyn Yard". dismagazine.com.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b "Amalia Ulman". LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b Di Rosso, Jason (28 October 2021). "Sydney Film Festival highlight El Planeta, David Lynch's Inland Empire and actor Hal Cumpston" (Audio + text). ABC Radio National. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Amalia Ulman: sensação da arte contemporânea - Lilian Pacce". Lilian Pacce (in Brazilian Portuguese). 23 March 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Artist, Feminist, Immigrant: An Interview With Amalia Ulman". bullettmedia.com. Archived from the original on 1 April 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  7. ^ "from plastic surgery to public meltdowns amalia ulman is turning instagram into performance art". i-D. Archived from the original on 1 April 2017. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  8. ^ "Pyongyang Elegance: Notes on Communism". Affidavit. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  9. ^ Dazed (13 June 2013). "Celebrate commerce with Amalia Ulman". Dazed. Retrieved 3 June 2018.
  10. ^ a b "Ulman's page at ltdlosangeles gallery" (PDF). Ltd. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 January 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Amalia Ulman: Delicious Works". Smart Objects. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Social media have become a vital tool for artists — but are they good for art?". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Amalia Ulman: Excellences & Perfections". newmuseum.org.
  14. ^ Francesca Gavin, Kaleidoscope#23, Winter 2015.
  15. ^ "How Amalia Ulman Became an Instagram Celebrity". vulture.com. 18 December 2014.
  16. ^ Emilie Friedlander The Fader, November 2014
  17. ^ "Goodman, Matthew Art in America Magazine June 2014". Archived from the original on 2 January 2019. Retrieved 10 February 2016.
  18. ^ ""The app isn't just about posting pretty pictures": Dazed's editor and social media manager on using Instagram - Creative Review". Creative Review. 2 November 2015. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  19. ^ Best, Susan (2021). It's not personal: post 60s body art and performance. London New York: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1-350-14414-9.
  20. ^ "Press releases: Electronic Superhighway (2016 – 1966)".
  21. ^ a b "Amalia-Ulman_The-Destruction-of-Experience_Evelyn-Yard". Evelyn Yard. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  22. ^ "The_Future_Ahead_Amalia_Ulman_2014_Last_Edit.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  23. ^ a b "James Fuentes Gallery | Amalia Ulman". www.jamesfuentes.com. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  24. ^ "Amalia's Website". amaliaulman.eu.
  25. ^ Tess, Edmonso (March 2015). "Killing in the Name". Texte zur Kunst (97): 196. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
  26. ^ "Performing for the Camera: 5 key artists | Tate". www.tate.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2 April 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
  27. ^ Tate. "Performing for the Camera - Exhibition at Tate Modern | Tate". Tate. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  28. ^ Baker, Simon. "Performing for the Camera: 5 key artists". Archived from the original on 2 April 2018. Retrieved 5 March 2016. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  29. ^ "Press Release - Electronic Superhighway - Whitechapel Gallery". Whitechapel Gallery. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  30. ^ Dazed (22 January 2016). "Instagram artist to feature in major Tate exhibition". Dazed. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  31. ^ Pillon, Adèle (23 January 2016). "Amalia Ulman fait entrer Instagram au Tate Modern - Pop culture - Numerama". Numerama (in French). Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  32. ^ "Le faux compte Instagram qui affole le monde de l'art contemporain". Slate.fr (in French). Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  33. ^ "Amalia Ulman Is the First Great Instagram Artist". ELLE. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  34. ^ Eler, Alicia (29 March 2018). "The provocative Instagram art hoax that fooled thousands". CNN Style. Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  35. ^ "Artist Amalia Ulman Makes Her Feature Debut with Sundance Contender 'El Planeta'". 30 January 2021.
  36. ^ ""El Planeta" Heralds Amalia Ulman as an Invigorating New Cinematic Voice". February 2021.
  37. ^ "Gilda Williams on Amalia Ulman's el Planeta (2021)".
  38. ^ "Utopia Nabs North American Rights to Sundance Hit 'El Planeta' (Exclusive)". 17 March 2021.
  39. ^ "Artist Amalia Ulman Makes Her Feature Debut with Sundance Contender 'El Planeta'". 30 January 2021.
  40. ^ "You Don't Know Amalia Ulman". Vulture. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  41. ^ Ruiz Mantilla, Jesús. "Amalia Ulman: "Desde que supe que tenía autismo, mi vida cobró sentido"" [Amalia Ulman: "Ever since I found out I have autism, my life has made sense"]. El Pais (in Spanish). Retrieved 8 January 2022.
  42. ^ "360 Panorama of "Savings & Shelves"(2012)". 360 Panorama. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  43. ^ "Overcome, cleanse (July, 2012)". amaliaulman.eu. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  44. ^ "Amalia Ulman — Promise a Future – Marbriers 4". marbriers4.ch. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  45. ^ "Future Gallery". futuregallery.org. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  46. ^ a b "Arcadia Missa".
  47. ^ "Baby Footprints Crow's Feet | Artsy". www.artsy.net. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  48. ^ "International House Of Cozy, May 2015". amaliaulman.eu. Archived from the original on 29 November 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  49. ^ "New Galerie". www.newgalerie.com. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  50. ^ "Amalia Ulman at New Galerie, Paris". CURA. Archived from the original on 17 December 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  51. ^ "Last chance: Amalia Ulman at New Galerie, Paris | Artinfo". Artinfo. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  52. ^ "Amalia Ulman "Dignity"". www.nyartbeat.com. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  53. ^ "Dirty Dancing: Amalia Ulman's Intriguing Show at James Fuentes Rings Hollow | ARTnews". www.artnews.com. 28 March 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  54. ^ "Barro | Arte contemporáneo | Intolerance". www.barro.cc. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  55. ^ "Deborah Schamoni – Amalia Ulman". deborahschamoni.com. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  56. ^ "Amalia Ulman". galerie-sympa.fr. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  57. ^ "Ram Highlight 2017: Displace | Exhibition". www.rockbundartmuseum.org. Retrieved 15 December 2017.
  58. ^ "Amalia Ulman, "Privilege"". jamesfuentes.com. Retrieved 12 November 2012.

External links[edit]