This book presents the fiercely intelligent internet-based performance of artist Amalia Ulman, which she eventually revealed to be a critical artwork about issues of online identity.
Amalia Ulman’s performance “Excellences & Perfections”, which unfolded on Instagram in 2014, follows an aspiring it-girl who undergoes a series of cosmetic surgeries and lifestyle changes to help jumpstart her career. For six months Ulman mesmerized her followers with nearly daily posts that documented a young woman trying on different personas in order to make her way in the world. Finally, the real Amalia Ulman revealed the fiction that she had created–a performance piece about identity, gender, class, sexuality, and lifestyle porn. The illustrations are presented in chronological order to give readers the experience of viewing the work as an uninterrupted stream, in the way her followers first saw them on social media. A forerunner of a new brand of performance art, Ulman has made a significant statement about the intersection of life and art–one that couldn’t be more timely or compelling.