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Marciano Art Foundation opens Anna Uddenberg's first institutional show in the U.S.
Installation view of Anna Uddenberg: Privé, 2019. Courtesy of the artist, Marciano Art Foundation and House of Gaga, Mexico City and Los Angeles. Photo: Jeff Mclane.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Marciano Art Foundation announced its new exhibition, Privé Alliance, the first solo show in Los Angeles and first institutional show in the United States by the Berlin-based Swedish artist Anna Uddenberg. Perceived through the vector of consumerist culture, Uddenberg’s work investigates how the body, spirituality, and self-staging are intertwined with the mediation and production of subjectivity by new technologies and forms of circulation. Engaging with notions of ergonomics, on view are seventeen new sculptural works dubbed by the artist as PERVERTABLES, a descriptor where “perv” replaces the prefix “con”, as in convertible, referring to common objects that can be converted for sexual use, such as in kink culture. Uddenberg’s sculptures are rendered in forms and methods impossible to adequately function for their supposed purpose. The exhibition is on view from July 25 through December 22, 2019 in the second floor Lounge Gallery at MAF.

Anna Uddenberg is largely inspired by American philosopher and gender theorist, Judith Butler, who coined ‘performativity’ as “an act that has been rehearsed, much like a script, and that people, as actors who make a script a reality through repetition, come to perform in the mode of belief.” In Uddenberg's work, this idea is translated into “sculptural scripts,” informed by the artist's satirization of social coding. Taking this idea into her three-dimensional sculptural works, Uddenberg relates the performativity of gender with the utility of consumerist objects and situations. Her objects mutate between forms that range from a couch, car seat, wheeled suitcase or stroller, while simultaneously deviating away from any common usage.

In this exhibition, Uddenberg employs furniture–as a proxy for architecture–to imagine zones of leisure, comfort, and discomfort. With the desire to push the boundaries of relationships to material objects, the artist guides visitors to engage and find new perspectives of the invented functions in these newly rendered spaces, all at the intersection of utility, sexuality, consumerism, and performativity.

Understanding the introduction of the body to a consumerist agenda as an interaction with a kind of functional or luxurious aesthetic, her sculptures read as both distinctly familiar and alien. The combinations of various socially identifiable forms and materials unpack the human relationship to commercial objects as a whole by reassembling them in a new, unanticipated dialogue with each other. Car parts, acrylic nails, quilted pleather, nipple clamps, laminate flooring, synthetic hair, flip-flops, and tempered glass are all reoccurring elements in the artist's pallet. Deviating away from the resort-like, commercial spaces these objects typically inhabit–which are meant to be relaxing or intimate–these PERVERTABLES recast the user as the object, as if a seat or a harness was to demand how one interacted with it. Through such a dialogue, Uddenberg reveals the libidinal power structures present within everyday situations, establishing the foundation of her practice in the need to re-evaluate existing normalities through a visual and performative language, and suggesting other schemes for bodies and objects to relate and interact.

Anna Uddenberg (b. 1982, Stockholm) is a Swedish artist who lives and works in Berlin. Uddenberg studied at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm and at the Städelschule, Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Her work has been included in numerous institutional and international exhibitions, including the 9th Berlin Biennale, curated by DIS, Berlin, Germany; Manifesta 11, Zurich, Switzerland; Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland; ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland; in addition to other museums. The artist has also held solo shows at galleries including House of Gaga, Mexico City, Mexico; Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin, Germany. This is the artist’s first solo show in Los Angeles as well as her first institutional show in the United States.

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