No True Self is a major exhibition of an emerging generation of critically acclaimed contemporary artists, featuring unique perspectives from Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Poland and Sweden. Presented to Australian audiences for the first time, No True Self reflects on the way digital technologies mediate our relationships through virtual and physical realities, and the effects on our performance of self.
Through a variety of conceptual approaches spanning photography, video, installation, new media and performance, No True Self investigates the blurring of private and public realms and the agency of the individual within a post-digital society. No True Self asks us to confront our performative selves, and consider how we connect, amidst such an uncertain future.
Curated by David A. Kerr (Australia), No True Self features Arvida Byström (Sweden), Thibaut Henz (Belgium), Artor Jesus Inkerö (Finland), Hanna Putz (Austria), Jana Schulz (Germany), Andrzej Steinbach (Poland) and Thomas Taube (Germany).
Arvida Byström (b. 1991 in Stockholm, Sweden) is an artist, Instagram influencer and role model of the digital native generation. Byström rose to mainstream fame for her brand collaborations and photographic work, that celebrates femininity in all its forms, including visualising female body hair and the menstrual cycle—simultaneously drawing out the ire of toxic masculinity in the process. She has exposed this toxicity and how it takes on new forms through online culture, as well as combating the censorship of the body on social media platforms, most notably through the publication Pics Or It Didn't Happen: Images Banned from Instagram (2017, Prestel) co-edited with artist Molly Soda and authored by Chris Kraus.
Byström is also a member of The Ardorous, a collective of creative female professionals established by artist Petra Collins, and whose manifesto includes ending the destructive culture of a one-sided representation of women. She has presented work extensively throughout Europe, including exhibiting and performing at London’s Tate Modern and the Modern Art Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.
Byström is represented by Gallery Steinsland Berliner, Stockholm.
Thibaut Henz (b. 1988 in Liège, Belgium) creates images that are at once visceral, affronting and beautiful. Henz belongs to a generation whose perception of the world is strongly influenced by the reception of digital images. Installed like mould spreading on a damp share house wall, Henz's images, commonly depicting transient moments, gestures, and close-ups of intimate and fragmented moments in time, form an incoherent and chaotic whole that speaks to the melancholy of our modern condition. Henz was awarded the Ars Viva in 2019, a prestigious award for promising young visual artists previously awarded to Wolfgang TIllmans and Anna Oppermann, et.al. Henz has exhibited extensively in Europe, including the recent exhibition Antarctica: An exhibition on Alienation at Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria.
Artor Jesus Inkerö (b. 1989, Helsinki, Finland), works across photography, video and performance, creating works that the artist terms, a “holistic bodily project”. Embracing hyper-masculine bodybuilding standards—and using the supplements, gestures, attire and behaviours associated with this subculture—Inkerö (who uses the pronoun “they”) manipulates both the viewer and the external qualities of self-representation. Conflating artist and persona, they use online culture in their work as part of their self-transformation, a performance that is both a physical and social experiment, and one that addresses the visual and societal expectations of gender.
Inkerö is currently artist in residence at the Rijksakademie Residency in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and has exhibited throughout Finland and recently at the New Museum in New York, USA.
Hanna Putz (b. 1987 in Vienna, Austria) is a self-taught artist, interested in conveying moments that defy our culture of ubiquitous self-awareness. Documenting everyday moments from the tender to the absurd, Putz provokes the notion of authenticity and of self-presentation, and what she calls ‘the high demands of self-representation’ today.
Putz’s work has been exhibited internationally, including at Kunsthalle Vienna, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, FOAM Museum, The Photographers Gallery, Autocenter Berlin, and at the 6th Moscow Biennale. Her work has been featured extensively in magazines such as DUST Magazine, TAR Magazine, Vogue Paris, i-D Magazine, New York Magazine, as well as recently featured in the British Journal of Photography. Her latest publication, Everything else is a lie (2019) is out now from PAMPAM Publishing.
Jana Schulz (b. 1984, Berlin, Germany) uses photography, video and sound to explore interpersonal communication and relationships, preoccupied with making visible how we navigate everyday conditions. Working with groups of male protagonists, she eloquently toys with the documentary mode of representation, often digressing between the staged and the non-staged, presenting fictive realities based on observations and combining these with abstract imagery. Schulz´s works operate on the border between truth and fiction, the strange and familiar, the surreal and the all-too-real.
Schulz has participated in residencies in Villa Aurora in Los Angeles and ISCP in New York, the Transart Triennale, and exhibited extensively in Europe, including at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig, Kunsthalle Vienna, Austria and recently at the Les Rencontres Internationales Film Festival, Paris.
Andrzej Steinbach (b. 1983, Czarnkow, Poland) is interested in the signifiers of photographic portrayal and how our assumptions turn individuals into signifiers - and into characters. At times political and containing various subtexts to revolt, his photographs cast a critical gaze squarely at the ubiquitous and unambiguous norms perpetuated by governments and algorithms. Challenging our assumptions of identity using superficial factors and pluralities of gesture, body language, clothing, race, and by subverting the conventions of photographic portraiture to which we are accustomed, he renders the familiar, unfamiliar.
In 2018 Steinbach received the German Federal Prize for Art Students and has exhibited throughout Europe and North America, including group exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) New York and the Centre de la Photographie in Geneva, Switzerland. Steinbach is represented by Galerie Conradi, Hamburg.
Thomas Taube (b. 1984 in Munich, Germany) has a background in Theology and Film Studies. Taube´s videoworks often operate to deconstruct the elements of film and cinema, from its traditional linear narrative structure to the creation—and subsequent deconstruction—of characters. A former student of Candice Breitz and Clemens Von Wedemeyer, the German artist was a recipient of the International Studio and Curatorial Program New York (ISCP), fellowship and the Marion Ermer Prize, and has participated in the Les Rencontres Internationales Film Festival, and various commercial and museum exhibitions throughout Europe.
Thomas Taube is represented by R E I T E R, Galleries, Leipzig, Berlin and London.
David Ashley Kerr (b. 1986 in Yarram, Australia) is an independent artist and curator from regional Victoria, currently based between Weimar, Germany and Helsinki, Finland. He is currently Visiting Researcher at the Center for Artistic Research (CfAR) at the University of Fine Arts, Helsinki, and in 2018 was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki.
Kerr is the creator of workworkworkworkworkwork.com – an experimental online platform for text, image and artwork that explores the representation of labour in contemporary art. In 2013, Kerr co-founded Strange Neighbour, a curator-led gallery and creative space consisting of a black and white community darkroom and artist studios. He has worked as a lecturer in photomedia at several Melbourne universities and continues to participate in residencies, events and exhibitions nationally and internationally in various capacities.
David A. Kerr has a PhD (Art History) from Monash University Art Design and Architecture, a Master of Fine Art from RMIT University and a Bachelor of Media Arts from Deakin University.
The presentation of this exhibition has been generously supported by Ilford Imaging Australia and Colour Factory.