Ulay: So you see me at Cooper Gallery DJCAD is the first major exhibition in a public institution in the UK of the preeminent performance artist Ulay's work.
With four words So you see me, Ulay, one of the most significant performance artists in recent art history, defines an urgent zone of radical acts and words.
Since the 1970s Ulay has gained international recognition for his experimentation in photography and action works, and his ground-breaking collaborative works with Marina Abramović. Situated at the intersection of photography, performance and critical interventions, Ulay’s unique artistic practice examines the physical, emotional and ethical limits of the individual and gendered self, whilst affirming ‘the social’ as the primary means of ascribing meaning to everyday life.
The exhibition will feature a newly commissioned sound installation drawn from the artist’s earlier work Aphorisms (1970-73) alongside the film of Ulay’s legendary work There is a Criminal Touch to Art, a 30 hour live Action performed in Berlin in 1976 and his social experiment works in the 1990s.
Marking out the trajectory of Ulay’s work as a philosophical and creative “practice of thinking and inhabiting” that uses the body as the starting point for interrogating the meaning of the human condition, ‘self-other’ dynamics and ‘vulnerability as a form of resistance’, So you see me addresses profound implications of the ethical functions of art. Seen against the uncertainties marking contemporary politics, Ulay’s practice radically restates the ethical, moral and political discourses underscoring alternative politics and their modes of resistance.
Inscribed in action and language So you see me marks out a trenchant and critical perspective that makes the appearance of our self an act always involved in a fundamental dialogue with the other. For Ulay this inherently ethical approach opens up an urgent space in which to address the challenges that contemporary society faces today.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a public engagement programme working with emerging artists and writers and culminating in an International Symposium featuring leading art historians, curators and critics.