A literal title, Anna Uddenberg’s “Continental Breakfast” is a subversive exploration of our consented submission to the virtual world.
A postmodernist artist, Anna Uddenberg’s body of work constantly follows the idea of simulacrum; how reality is dictated by a saturated media which controls our wishes, beliefs, and bodies and the power structures which surround them.
Heavily inspired by reality TV and social media, she thinks they have completely transformed our ways of thinking of our own reality. Removing us from our reality by interpreting our most intimate thoughts, we are under the control of the media.
Her work presents submissiveness in literal terms in different spaces and areas of our society. In the same tone, she explores gender poles between the masculine and the feminine.
Swedish born; she started making clothes during her late teen years in her parent’s basement. After which she followed with a bachelor in fashion. She incorporated into her academic corpus many art classes. She realized she was much more susceptible to the feedback she got from her artwork assignment than in her fashion courses which in her opinion lacked depth. She then followed with an MFA from the Royal School of Art in Stockholm.
Sculpture is the medium she mainly works with, she borrows elements of functionality in her work to evoke the representation of reality. Following classical sculpting process, she begins with a welded metal skeleton to which she adds a molded clay to create a mold, to be casted in fibre glass called aqua resin glass, which will become a resilient hollow structure. This structure is then the basis to add elements to portray what she wants.
Always working with sculptures and the idea of performance, her body of work parallels figurative and non-figurative sculptures where a performance is enacted or can be easily imagined by the viewer. Sante Par Aqua (2017) is a great example of her non-figurative work. She constructed chairs whose main features are set to control bodies, more specifically gender.
Or her earlier work Lady Unique (2015), where a semi upper half of a mannequin is attached to a rolling luggage. The epitome of the white girl Instagram traveler, she explores the masquerade of femininity powered by the control of a patriarchal society during the late capitalistic period.
She likes to use sculptures as sets of the environment in which figures exists. There is often a boundary between the sculpture and the figure. The latter often controlled by the sculpture, it’s environment.
Continental Breakfast (2022) follows the theme of our disconnect to our own reality. However, it inspects our own ownership to submit to the decimation of our reality by technology.
The design of the work was inspired by industrial design and real-life spaces like airports seats, hospital rooms, and offices. Those environments where functionality supersedes any type of comfort for the sake of efficiency. A representation of our environment, in which she focuses on society’s obsession of functionality as a veneer for control.
She watched the reality TV show “Selling Sunset” (2019 – ) to help her research visual expressions of functionality in contemporary luxury design. She borrowed real estate lexicon of the show as visual guidelines for her work. The show in which we see grand contemporary technologically advanced expensive homes, where everything is made in attention to saving square footage to leave out big open-air spaces.
The sculpture made of carpets, fibre glass, steel, fake tartan, BBL recovery pillows and crutches. Each element is condensed to efficiently use space into a single chair to fit in one square foot. A contorted alien-esque looking chair in the name of function. It can only be described as a stale, hyper-functional optimized space saving, technologically advanced chair. Which represents our fast-paced technology world driven by data.
The accompanied performance invokes how our technological environment controls us. The performance begins when a woman dressed as a corporate employee standing near the entrance of the room proceeds to walk up to the chair to climb onto it. Her hand holding the crutches, her posterior is lifted at a 90-degree angle by the BBL pillow, right under the glass. Revealing herself completely to anyone passing behind. The the title of the work comes here into play. The woman must modify her natural state to fit within the short confines of the chair. She is willingly putting herself in a confined package just to be consumed by the audience.
The performance borrows BDSM’s idea of a contractual agreement to be submitted to control. It is a visual metaphor of our willingness to consent to divulging our own information to follow our own algorithm loop.
It examines in detail the layers of our removal from reality. Our information is sold for profit, to then be used for corporations to understand the most intimate parts of ourselves. In return, they use our information to recreate our reality for us, our needs and the accompanied products already packaged to fulfill them.
Moreover, she uses perverted imagery to examine the depths to which we are controlled by the corporations of social media, and our willingness to submit. Pushed by the addictive pleasures of an engineered dopamine induced virtual world.
As a Graduate from HEC with a master in management in the cultural sector and BFA from Concordia in Art history, Emma Rose Di Iorio’s work is interested in art criticism, and fashion news trends. Having a grand sensitivity to all art mediums, she loves beauty in all its shapes and forms.